More hospitals needed as Visayas tops list of dengue cases

Sen. Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri (Facebook)

By: Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD City – Sen. Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri called on the government “to build more hospitals in areas that are overburdened with dengue cases which has reached more than a quarter of a million nationwide and killed more than a thousand mostly children five to nine years of age.”

In a press statement, Zubiri said “Doctors and hospital directors have been forced to convert gyms and basketball courts into dengue wards.”

“This will be a scenario repeated over and over with other diseases, if we go business as usual. We have to build more hospitals.”

The Department of Health declared a national dengue epidemic in August following the national dengue alert in July as cases rapidly increased in public and private hospitals.

Dengue cases soared to 115,986 for the January-July 2019 period which is 109% higher than last year in the same period.

Headlining the news are cases mostly in Metro Manila but, Western Visayas has the most number of cases with 42,694 and 186 deaths.

Next are: Calabarzon (35,136 cases, 112 deaths); Northern Mindanao (18,799 cases, 69 deaths); Zamboanga Peninsula (17,529 cases, 93 deaths); and, Eastern Visayas (17,107 cases, 52 deaths).

“We face three more months of virulent cases since dengue strikes most from May to November. Literal na patung-patong ang mga pasyente ng dengue sa mga ospital. Sa Region 6 ay napakaraming pasyente ng dengue at hirap umagapay ang mga doktor at nars dahil kulang na kulang ang mga pasilidad kahit na basic bed.”

Zubiri said the country has a dismal bed to population ratio of 1:1,000.

“Even if we don’t face a dengue epidemic, we have to ramp up our public health facilities. Our target to improve to 1:800 ratio will set us at par only with Southeast Asian countries. It is still a low target. I propose to increase the health facilities budget of the Department of Health by building more tertiary hospitals, modernizing existing provincial hospitals and setting up specialty hospitals with modern blood bank facilities in all regions.”