EVEN before the start of the rainy season, the number of dengue cases in the region recorded in January to May 2019 almost tripled at 8,613 (with 48 deaths), based on the data of the Department of Health-Center for Health Development (DOH-CHD)-6.
Last year, the DOH only recorded 2,886 cases and 23 deaths in the same months, according to Entomologist III Maria Lourdes Monegro.
“We recorded a 198 percent increase in the number of dengue cases this year with Iloilo province leading the highest recorded cases at 2,516 and 12 deaths followed by Negros Occidental has 2,277 with 17 deaths,” Monegro said.
Capiz with 1,245 dengue cases and seven deaths ranked third, followed by Aklan with 1,019 and five deaths; Iloilo City, 555 cases with four deaths; Bacolod City, 433 with one death; Antique 285 cases with two deaths and Guimaras with 187 cases, Monegro reported.
The highest attack rate was in the province of Aklan while Guimaras recorded the highest increase in dengue cases.
In terms of the deaths, 31 children aged one to 10 years old died of the infection, followed by teenagers 11 to 20 years old (6 deaths), adults 31 to 40 (6), and three deaths in the 21 to 30 and 41 to 50 age groups.
Meantime, a total of 121 barangays in the region posted clustering of dengue cases.
To curb the spiralling cases, the health department is now seeking more active community participation through ABKD (Aksyon Barangay Kontra Dengue) and 4S programs.
Dr. Elvie Villalobos, head of the DOH-CHD 6 Infectious Disease and Environmental and Occupational Health Cluster, appealed to the public to observe and practice 4S alongside the ABKD program to slow down the increase in dengue cases in the region.
“The 4S program which stands for search and destroy mosquito breeding places, self-protection, seek early consultation and say yes to fogging or indoor and outdoor spraying are cost effective measures that we can do and pwede gid naton ma-apply sa mga barangays,” he said.
Aside from the 4S, Villalobos emphasized that barangays should also practice the four o’ clock habit where residents practice “stop, look, and listen”.
“Every 4 p.m., barangays should observe this. Stop their usual activities, look for the breeding sites of the mosquitoes and destroy them and listen to the announcements in their barangays. Kung mapractice ta ning 4S, ABKD and four o’ clock habit for sure malikawan gid naton ang dengue,” he said.
Meanwhile, as part of its campaign to spread dengue awareness, the health department together with the city government will celebrate the ASEAN Dengue Day on June 14, 2019.
With the theme “End Dengue Starts with Me”, a short program will be held at the Diamond Jubilee Hall after a caravan along the streets in Iloilo City.
The Philippine Red Cross Iloilo chapter will also conduct a blood-letting activity on the same day, the blood will be donated to the dengue patients.
By: Emme Rose Santiagudo