EDITORIAL - Fight against dengue touch and go at best
(The Freeman) - October 10, 2016 - 12:00am

There appears to be a concerted effort to persuade Cebu governor Hilario Davide III to declare a dengue outbreak in the entire province. Davide, a lawyer by profession and a politician by inclination, is not supposed to be an authority on mosquito-borne diseases, or any disease for that matter despite being the governor. So why him in particular and not the real experts, say the Department of Health?

Because, by making the declaration, resources can be opened up and thrown more quickly into whatever efforts may be undertaken in fighting the disease, that's why. You see, things do work differently in politics than they do normally elsewhere. In politics they have a way of making simple things complicated and complicated things even more so.

Look at it this way. Dengue is a tropical mosquito-borne disease. Ever since God configured the world, our place of geographical assignment has always been the tropics. And unless God has a sudden change of plan, the mosquito that He chose to inhabit the tropics, among other pests, will continue to be with us, along with the diseases they bring, dengue among them.

Therefore, if it is already an unassailable fact that the mosquito will always be with us, along with the diseases it brings, why do we have to go through the ritual of declaring a dengue outbreak and then go through another ritual lifting it at every ebb and flow of the disease? Why can we not just eliminate the middleman and go straight to the meat of the problem - which is making sure we are prepared for a disease that has no intention of going away?

Dengue and other seasonal diseases should be made a permanent item in the budget, thereby ensuring that there is always a resource that can be tapped without having to resort to the whole gamut of exercises required to address something that we know is just there waiting to pounce. People always talk about preparedness these days. Well, why don't we just go ahead and be prepared, for always?

To wait until certain parameters are met before acting is not preparedness. And when the action required is as superfluous as declaring an outbreak or some other emergency, that is not preparedness either. Preparedness is a finger on the trigger, a thumb on the button, the boots strapped and ready to go. Preparedness is what saves lives, not the ability to make declarations.

Given the sheer length of our shared history with dengue, it is just plain incredible that up to this time, our chosen mode of addressing the problem is still, at best, touch and go. We watch as dengue first appears on the radar at the beginning of each year, start tallying its progression month after month wondering when it is time to start jumping up and down screaming emergency. Why don't we just wait by the door and punch it the moment it shows it face?

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