About a dozen congressmen from regions affected by the dengue outbreak sought a private audience with Health Secretary Francisco Duque late Monday afternoon to discuss immediate and long-term solutions to the latest health emergency plaguing the country.
Duque was invited to the House of Representatives by Majority Leader Martin Romualdez, whose province of Leyte was included in the list of areas that have already exceeded the alert threshold for dengue.
“The dengue scourge has affected Region VIII, particularly the Leyte and Samar provinces
. We are very, very fortunate that Secretary Duque is here at the Office of House Majority Leader so we invited the members of the Region VIII bloc and as well as those from Iloilo and Zamboanga Sibugay where this scourge has also been very, very much felt,” said Romualdez.
“Secretary Duque has endeavored to support each and every congressman’s requirements to stave off the increase or the spike of the scourge not just through informative talks and discussions here, but with actual concrete initiatives to support in addressing the problem,” he added.
Romualdez also said that with no effective medicine to cure the viral disease, community effort was crucial in winning the war against dengue.
Duque advised congressmen to encourage local government units to enter into agreements with public and private hospitals to widen the reach of medical assistance provided by the Health department.
Aside from financial support, the Health secretary also committed to make available machines and chemicals needed by LGUs for mosquito fogging operations in their areas of jurisdiction.
Earlier, the DOH announed that the following regions had exceeded the epidemic threshold: Mimaropa, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, and Northern Mindanao.
READ: Dengue alert nationwide
The following regions, meanwhile, have exceeded the alert threshold: Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, Calabarzon, Bicol, Eastern Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, Davao, Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, and Cordillera Administrative Region.
The epidemic threshold is the critical number of cases required for an epidemic to be declared. The alert threshold, meanwhile, is the number of cases that sounds an early warning for a potential epidemic.
Romualdez said congressmen are now studying options to infuse more budgetary support to the DOH to help the department contain the epidemic and provide assistance to dengue patients.
“All the congressmen present agreed to help Secretary Duque get more budget for the anti-dengue campaign. Our Health department deserves all the support from Congress if we are to win the war against dengue,” he added.
The Eastern Samar provincial governmentapproved a resolution on Monday placing the entire province under state of calamity due to the rising dengue fever cases in all of its 22 towns.
The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council recommended on July 26 the declaration of state of calamity after the province breached both the alert and epidemic thresholds for dengue, said Eastern Samar provincial administrator Nelson Cortez in a phone interview Tuesday.
From Jan. 1 to July 26 this year, there were 1,162 confirmed dengue cases with nine deaths in the province. The figure is nearly triple that of the same period last year.
Deaths have been reported in the towns of Guiuan, Taft, Quinapundan, Hernani, General Macarthur, and Borongan City.
Of the 1,162 dengue cases, 242 were recorded in Borongan City, 151 in Guiuan, 77 in Maydolong, 77 in Taft, 70 in San Julian, 64 in Balangiga, 60 in Quinapundan, 57 in General MacArthur, 53 in Oras, 50 in Sulat, 46 in Dolores, 41 in Balangkayan, 37 in Llorente, 30 in Can-avid, 28 in Salcedo, 22 in Lawaan, 21 in San Policarpo, 14 in Giporlos, seven in Hernani, seven in Mercedes, five in Arteche, and three in Jipapad town.
“Municipalities and the capital city in Eastern Samar can now use their emergency fund for the procurement of dengue test kits, larvicides, and other needs to address dengue problem,” Cortez said.
Due to the alarming increase in dengue cases, local government units in Eastern Samar have been stepping up measures to address the health concern in their respective areas.
In Arteche town, the local government has been conducting orientations in villages and schools to educate the populace on eradicating mosquito breeding grounds. This is on top of clean-up drive in every village, according to a social media post of the municipal government.
The Integrated Provincial Health Office is urging the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) to place Antique province under a state of calamity due to dengue.
IPHO chief Dr. Ric Noel Naciongayo said they need funds to purchase medicines, intravenous fluids, intravenous tubing, and other resources to be provided to the hospitals for the dengue patients.
“Our resources in the hospitals are already draining because of the dengue cases,” he said.
Naciongayo said they would need at least P5 million from the calamity fund for the needed resources in hospitals.
Meanwhile, at least 19 people have died due to dengue in Sultan Kudarat as of July 27, making it the province with the highest death toll in the entire Soccsksargen region.
The province has reported 1,700 cases.
Cotabato, on the other hand, has 16 recorded deaths since January, with provincial health officials confirming a 201 percent increase in the number of dengue cases at 3,788 cases from Jan. 1 to July 19, compared to 1,253 cases in the same period in 2018.
The South Cotabato provincial government has stocked up supplies of dengue test kits to facilitate the early detection of deadly mosquito bites amid the continuing outbreak in the province.
The Health department on July 15 declared a national dengue alert as the number of cases continued to rise in several regions. With PNA
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