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PIA Press Release

Davao Norte in control over terror mosquitoes

by Romulo Tagalo

Davao City (1 September) -- With malaria virtually out in the northern part of Davao del Norte, dengue as an urban phenomenon is now the target of the Provincial Health Office's community health efforts, after the dreaded illness claimed 10 lives in the province.

Guesting at Kapehan sa Kapitolyo last August 25, 2010, Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Agapito B. Hornido, was happy to announce that malaria has been finally controlled in the uplands of Sto. Tomas, Talaingod and Kapalong. Afflicting about 800 patients in the 2004-2008 period, the night-biting anopheles mosquito succeeded in infecting only 64 people since January 2010.

Success over malaria

"We are happy about the successful rollback of malaria which was the main problem of our indigenous community as well as other upland poor in the north", Dr. Hornido expressed.

This claim was seconded by his co-guest, Mr. Aerol Merquita of the Pilipinas Shell Foundation Malaria Control Program which extended enormous logistics and technical assistance to PHO in the province.

"Davao del Norte is made part of our anti-malaria efforts because this disease knows no boundaries. With malaria cases on the rise in hinterlands of Davao City, there is 100% possibility that the disease may cross borders towards adjacent provinces," Merquita told the media.

Instrumental to the decline of malaria outbreak was the introduction of chemically treated mosquito nets which covered almost 90% of the population within infected areas.

"Our appeal is for the people to properly use these mosquito nets according to its purpose. Unfortunately, there are reported cases where these nets were used other than protection against mosquito," Dr. Hornido lamented.

Merquita cited Barangay Gupitan in Kapalong to have took the initiative of passing an Ordinance enjoining its residents to follow the plea of the PHO and its partner NGO, Pilipinas Shell Foundation.

"Projects have to be culturally-sensitive. We let the community solve it through their community leaders. We thank them for that initiative, and also our DepEd for integrating into their lesson plans the simple preventive measures to avoid malaria infection," Merquita added.

Renewed fight against dengue

Banking on its success against malaria, PHO is mobilizing its health network to arrest the rise of dengue, especially in Panabo City. Convening all the city and municipal health officials, Dr. Hornido reiterated DOH's call to observe the 4's against dengue, namely," Search and destroy, Seek early diagnosis, Self-protection, and Say no to indiscriminate fogging."

"The best approach is to get down to the bottom of it by depriving dengue mosquitoes of a breeding place, examples are stagnant canals, old tire, flower vases, and others. If you are feeling basic symptoms like high fever, headaches and muscle pains, seek medical help immediately. If possible, apply mosquito repellant lotions, especially to children, and remember contrary to common belief, fogging should not be applied indiscriminately because it will only drive away adult mosquitoes to other places," advised Dr. Hornido.

He warned that no vaccine for all 4 dengue strains yet available necessitating more a home-based sanitation practice.

To date, Panabo City registered the highest dengue cases in the Province, followed by Carmen and Sto. Tomas. Tagum City which used to be number one, now is top 5. (PIA) [top]

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