‘REAL CLEANUPS, NOT PHOTO OPS’: DOH-6 calls for thorough cleanups as 230 dengue cases recorded daily

A CLEANUP drive in Iloilo City. The Department of Health called for more thorough cleanups that will target breeding grounds of mosquitoes to stem the dengue outbreak in Western Visayas. (Photo courtesy of Iloilo City Government Facebook page)

By: Emme Rose Santiagudo

WITH almost 230 dengue cases recorded per day in the region from June 1 to July 13, 2019, the Department of Health-Center for Health Development (DOH-CHD)-6 appealed to the public to target breeding sites of mosquitoes during cleanup activities instead of “plain sweeping” that end up as picture-taking sessions.

DOH-CHD Regional Director Marlyn Convocar made the call after observing that cleanup activities only involved street sweeping which does not eliminate breeding sites of mosquitoes which spread dengue.

Gusto ko i-emphasize kun mag-cleanup makadto sila sa mga lugar nga may tubigindi nga manilhig lang sa dalan nga wala man tubi, te wala man na epekto kay ang lamok, wala man ya sa dalan,” she stressed.

Instead of plain sweeping and photo ops, Convocar emphasized that cleanups should target areas which can serve as potential breeding sites, especially those with stagnant water.

“They should target ang mga bakante nga lote sa subdivision, mga housing projects nga nauntat na bala and mga may tubig,” she said.

Convocar said that once the breeding sites are destroyed, the number of dengue cases can be controlled by half.

“Once mauntat lang naton ang breeding place, sobra sa tunga macontrol naton. During cleanup activites, half of the work sa sagwa and half of the work sa balay,” she said.


Meanwhile, Iloilo City Mayor Jerry issued an executive order (EO) declaring a dengue outbreak in Iloilo City on Monday.

Treñas expressed his alarm over the increasing dengue cases in the metro with more than three patients testing positive daily.

“There has been a 416.7 percent increase in the number of dengue cases in Iloilo City from January 1, 2019 up to the present. The city has reached the epidemic and alert threshold set forth by the health department,” the EO said.

Recently, the region has also declared a dengue outbreak in all of the five provinces of Iloilo, Aklan, Capiz, Antique, and Guimaras.



From January 1 to July 13, the health department has recorded 18,834 dengue cases with 94 deaths in the region, still the highest in the country.

DOH-CHD 6 recorded 1,919 new dengue cases on the 28th morbidity week or an average number of 230 daily average admission from June to July 13, 2019.

The health department expressed alarm particularly in the provinces of Capiz and Iloilo which registered the highest number of new dengue cases on morbidity week 28.

“On the 28th morbidity week, Capiz recorded 524 new cases while Iloilo recorded 478 new cases. And we expect this to increase because indi pa complete ang data from hospitals and Rural Health Units (RHUs),” Josef Alexander Denila, senior health program officer of DOH-CHD 6 reported.

While common Dengue symptoms include fever, rashes, joint pains, and persistent vomiting, Dr. Glen Alonsabe, head of the Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit, said that 70 percent of the recorded dengue cases have mild to almost no symptoms.

“It has no specific symptoms and iban gani asymptomatic symptoms nga abi nila trangkaso lang that is why ang pinakareliable gid is to check the temperature using the thermometer and to verify it thru the NS1 dengue kits,” he said.

The NS1 kit is used as a rapid test to determine if a person is infected by the dengue virus.

Alonsabe added that those who suffered severe dengue infection were those that were hit by the disease for the second time already.

“Usually ang second time nga infection amo na ang mas lalaNaka-develop ka na sang antibody sa previous infection, so sa ikaduha nga infection nga masulod, so the body reacts in a more violent way,” he explained.



As a measure, DOH-CHD 6 said that they will be creating monitoring teams to be deployed on the key areas in Aklan, Capiz, and Iloilo.

Convocar said that they already released an advisory that all Rural Health Units can be used as hydration units for patients who do not exhibit warning signs (i.e. abdominal pain, persistent vomiting, signs of fluid accumulation, mucosal bleeding, lethargy, restlessness, liver enlargement, increase in hematocrit and/or decreasing platelet count) and are able to tolerate adequate volumes of oral fluids.

“With this, mabuhinan ang mga admitted sa crowded hospitals especially in Iloilo and hospitals can now focus on those that exhibit warning signs,” Convocar said.

The health department is also to set to request for emergency purchase of IV fluids, NS1 kits, mosquito nets, and other needed equipment.

She added that various health cluster member agencies also committed to help in the dengue response.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) already committed to help in the information education campaign materials while the Philippine National Police (PNP), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) vowed to help in the conduct of clean up drives and fogging.

“We are set to meet again this Friday because we will localize the measures of the central office in their recent cluster meeting,” Convocar said.