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Dengue outbreak declaration sought

(The Freeman) - October 8, 2016 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Officials of the Provincial Health Office have recommended to Cebu Governor Hilario Davide III to declare a dengue outbreak in the province.

An "urgent" letter signed by PHO chief Dr. Rene Catan and PHO chief on public health Dr. Niño Ismael Pastor was submitted yesterday to Davide for the declaration of a dengue outbreak, citing eight grounds.

These grounds are 1.) Dengue cases have reached 5,505 as of September last month higher by 224 percent compared to last year; 2.) The current prevalence is the highest in six years; 3.) There have been 50 deaths throughout the province, a 204-percent increase compared last year; 4.) The rise of dengue cases since August 2016; 5.) The case fatality rate or the number of people dying because of dengue over the midyear popular is equal to 1.04 percent (National Objectives for Health 2016 target should be less than 0.9 percent); 6.) The prevalence rate is 114 for every 100,000 population; 7.) Dengue is best managed by risk reduction rather than risk containment because it is a vector-borne outbreak due to mosquitoes; 8.) Manpower at the local level has already been exhausted.

Davide said he will endorse the recommendation to the Provincial Board for approval.

The Provincial Board earlier called on the 51 towns and cities in the province to intensify their campaign on dengue prevention and control.

"With the alarming upsurge of dengue cases, it is appropriate enough to strengthen the anti-dengue awareness program of the province through the headship of the PHO with the full support of the PB," Board Members Jose Mari Salvador and Christopher Baricuatro, chairman of the committee on public health and social services, said in a joint resolution approved by the board last September 26.

The Rural Health Units were also advised to regularly submit and report dengue-updated cases to PHO.

PHO has conducted six misting operations last month in different areas, including Barangay Poblacion in Sogod, Barangays Pooc and Linao in Talisay City, Barangay San Jose in Catmon, Barangays Valladolid and Guadalupe in Carcar City, and Barangay Nangka in Consolacion.

In a report, PHO's misting team leader Bryan Bote said they have identified dengue zones or breeding sites of mosquitoes like areas near creeks, rivers and other waterways and crop fields where informal settlers built houses with poor sanitation.

Aside from misting, Bote said they conducted informative drive on the importance of cleanliness at home, and larvicidal impregnation.

He admitted they had troubles implementing the misting operations because of the non-cooperation of some local government units and the lack of equipment and manpower.

To address the concern, PHO yesterday wrote to PDRRMO asking for a P1-million budget for its quick response fund that can easily be used during the onslaught of possible disaster as well as budget for the purchase of equipment and a vehicle.

PHO is asking 20 handheld radios to be stationed at the 16 provincial and district hospitals, four base radios, and one ambulance. Pastor said these would help PHO in effective disaster preparedness and awareness.

"We are keeping abreast in the different effects of climate change that may possibly be forthcoming, with this badgering idea, we would like to request from your office that the following items may be charged to your office," he said.

Julius Regner, spokesman of the Cebu Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, assured that they will help PHO in acquiring new machines and equipment.

At present, the province has P46.83 million left in its coffers that can still be utilized for disasters and emergency response operations.

Davide said during the PDRRM council meeting that PHO can utilize some of the unused funds of the disaster office after the council approved the resolution of Baricuatro declaring dengue outbreak as a disaster or calamity.

Meanwhile, the Department of Health-7 denied reports that a meeting took place yesterday between the department and the PHO to discuss matters regarding the latter's province-wide declaration of dengue outbreak.

Dr. Jaime Bernadas, regional director of DOH-7, did not only deny the event, he also turned down the earlier announcement that a certain locality was allowed to be declared under a dengue outbreak.

"No such meeting (happened)… We also do not have any declaration of an outbreak. We only have clusters of cases and hotspots just yet," he said.

"They must have a basis on it," he further said.

Interviewed separately, DOH-7 Regional Epidemio-logy and Surveillance Unit head Rennan Cimafranca was also caught off guard when he was asked about the reported event yesterday morning. (FREEMAN)

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