DUE TO the alarming rise of dengue cases in Ormoc City, as well as the recent declaration of the Department of Health (DOH) of dengue outbreaks in the entire country, this city’s health department will do a “Brigada Kontra Dengue” on August 9, Friday, to once more raise awareness of the infection and get community cooperation.
Leyte Province and Tacloban City, like other parts of the country, have already issued declarations of calamity, to pave the way for the release of their quick response funds, which will be used to combat the outbreaks. Other outbreaks and similar declarations have also been reported in other parts of the country.
In a meeting of the Anti-Dengue Technical Working Group on Friday, August 2, it was learned that 40 new cases were reported confined at the Ormoc Doctors’ Hospital and OSPA-Farmers’ Medical Center on August 1, Thursday, alone.
This brought a steep spike in the number of dengue cases from January to August to 405 on Friday from 346 just two days before, or July 31. The figure includes a death in Barangay Mabato and those confined in other hospitals, said Nurse Elsie Jaca, who monitors the cases. Another patient from Cagbuhangin also died in March and city health is investigating another death, which is also suspected dengue.
Dr. Edmund Kierulf said that there is now an “epidemic” because aside from the rapid increase of cases, there is “clustering”.
The top affected barangay for July is Cagbuhangin with 17 reported cases, Naungan with 12, Linao with 11, Liloan with 8, Lao with 7, Tambulilid with 6, and Cogon, 5.
Dr. Kierulf, on the other hand, said that their department will be strictly implementing its Vector control strategy, and that is to not just do clean-up drives but to also intensify search and destroy breeding sites of mosquitos.
“We want an integrated approach, shifting from reactive to proactive approaches. Dengue is here to stay. Don’t react! Act year-round! A proactive approach to fighting dengue means, moving from response-driven activities to long-term prevention and preparedness-driven activities,” he said.
To achieve awareness for the infectious and possibly fatal disease, the TWG plans to hold a massive community cleanup on August 9, copying the Brigada Eskwela model. This time, said Ciricao Tolibao of the City Disaster Risk and Reduction Office, they will call it “Brigada Kontra Dengue”. This will be on top of a “pintakasi cleanup drive” of all 110 barangays that will be done on Sunday, August 4.
“We are calling for action from all. Dengue prevention and control is a shared responsibility. Unless everybody plays their role, dengue will not be controlled,” he added.
Atty. Joy Mejia-Romero said they will propose to Mayor Richard Gomez to declare August 9 as a “working holiday” and that all barangays, schools, establishments and residents should go out and cleanup their surroundings and “search and destroy” possible breeding places of mosquitoes. Dengue’s vector is the Aedis aegypti mosquito.
Accordingly, the very first step to prevent dengue is within each household, by removing anything that can hold unnecessary stagnant water, which may eventually become breeding sites of mosquitos.
The Ormoc City Health Department is now asking everyone’s full support in practicing Enhanced 4-S: Search and destroy mosquito-breeding sites; Secure self-protection measures by wearing long pants and long-sleeved shirts as well as daily use of mosquito repellents; Seek early consultation; and, Support fogging/ spraying only in hotspot areas where increase in cases are registered.
Ormoc City Vice-Mayor Leo Carmelo L. Locsin, Jr., as the acting city mayor on July 31, 2019, signed General Executive Order No. 37, Series of 2019, directing regular city-wide clean-up activities to eliminate mosquito breeding sites and stop the spread of dengue and other mosquito borne diseases.
During that meeting, there were already 346 dengue cases recorded in the city, 32% higher than the 262 recorded cases in the same period last year 2018.
Mostly affected are males, comprising 60% (208) of the total number of cases. Ages range from six months to 83 years old. However, children aging 5-9 years old were commonly affected, comprising 19% (66) of the total number of cases. One hundred eighty-seven (187) or 54% of the 346 dengue cases are confirmed positive.
Meanwhile, the city Environment and Natural Resources Office (ENRO) have started collecting all visible and/or abandoned tires strewn around, which are known breeding spots for mosquitoes.
R a f a e l D u m a l a n , ENRO, said that another long-term solution to the repeated dengue incidence is for people to treat natural predators of mosquitoes kindly, like frogs and spiders.