CANDICE MONTENEGRO, GMA News 03/30/2011 |
As the number of dengue cases go up in the National Capital Region (NCR), the Department of Health (DOH) urged local governments in the region to take action this summer against what is generally perceived to be a “rainy season disease.”
The DOH particularly urged barangay health officials in the NCR to implement an anti-dengue drive as the cases in the region went up by more than 100 percent in the first two months of the year.
Dr. Irma Asuncion of the DOH Center for Health Development-Metro Manila (CHDMM) reminded local government officials at a summit on Wednesday that dengue is no longer a seasonal disease that only comes after the onset of the rainy season.
Asuncion said dengue cases are now recorded all year round, and the only way to stop the spread of dengue is by eliminating the breeding grounds for dengue-carrying mosquitoes.
“We really have to involve the barangay because the action should start with them,” she told GMA News Online.
“We want them to be aware na DOH can only do this much, but the bulk of the work is really with the barangay.”
The DOH urged barangay captains to formulate local ordinances and resolutions to make health and disease prevention one of their major agenda.
She added that best practices and multi-sectoral initiatives must be shared with other LGUs.
Through its early anti-dengue campaign, the DOH aims to bring down the number of dengue cases this year.
In 2010, more than 135,000 dengue cases were reported, the worst dengue outbreak recorded in the country in the last 10 years.
Most number of dengue cases
Every year, the NCR records the highest number of dengue cases in the country.
However, for this year, a high number of cases was already reported in January and February: 3,640 dengue cases in Metro Manila alone, a 106 percent increase from the 1,866 cases recorded in the same period in 2010.
Twenty-nine deaths were already recorded this year.
The cities with the most number of dengue cases are:
and •Parañaque City.
Dengue prevention in summer The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) earlier told Filipinos to expect a “wet summer,” as changes in weather systems may cause rains in the coming months, especially in Visayas and Mindanao.
However, DOH clarified that while dengue cases usually go up during rainy seasons, the spread of dengue cases happen when there are breeding grounds for Aedes aegypti, the dengue-carrying mosquito.
Dr. Ruben Siapno from the DOH CHDMM said the only sure way to eliminate dengue is by cleaning the surroundings and eliminating stagnant water that can become breeding sites for mosquitoes. He stressed the importance of eliminating stagnant water, as mosquitoes can lay their eggs and breed on water the size of a 25-centavo coin. Siapno added that effort from the local community can do a lot in lessening, if not completely eliminating, dengue cases in the country.
He cited for example the dengue outbreak in Singapore in 2005, where the government hired one million health workers to search and destroy breeding grounds of dengue-carrying mosquitoes, after which dengue cases significantly dropped after just one week.
“Kaya naman natin eh, basta makipagtulungan lamang ang lokal na pamahalaan sa DOH (We can do this if the local government works hand in hand with DOH),” Siapno said. Dengue-proof your homes The health department reminded the public to dengue-proof their homes this summer, especially during long holidays like the Holy Week when families usually take vacations and leave the house for a long period.
To avoid dengue-carrying mosquitoes from breeding in homes, the DOH reminds the public to:
•empty and turn over water storage containers;
•cover toilet bowls;
•avoid placing water containers in dark areas;
•replace water in vases every other day;
and •cover areas around the house where water may accumulate. – VVP, GMA News