BUTUAN CITY (MindaNews / 8 Jan) – The number of dengue cases in Caraga Region in 2013 increased by seven percent compared to the previous year, prompting the Department of Health (DOH) to call on local governments to implement more measures to prevent spread of the mosquito-borne disease.
Dr. Gerna Manatad, head of the DOH’s Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance unit, said that the cases in all of 2013 reached 2,702 as against the 2,522 cases in 2012.
Butuan City leads the most number of cases with 839. Next is Agusan del Sur, with a combined cases of 538.
Manatad pointed out the need for LGUs to exert extra efforts in combating the problem as previous data suggest the number of cases would increase by the start of January towards February. “This has more to do with our climate here, since by January towards February is the time of increased rainfall in the region,” she added.
The DOH epidemiologist pointed out the need for LGUs to strictly implement the guidelines in the fight against dengue.
“We need to fight the disease through pushing for the control of outbreaks and to minimize the number of infected people. So far the most effective would be to implement the 4S,” she said, referring to search and destroy mosquito breeding sites, self-protection measures, seek early treatment if symptoms would be noticed, and say no to indiscriminate fogging.
Butuan City Councilor Virgilio Nery Jr., a doctor who chairs the council’s committee on health and sanitation, stated that the LGU is aware of the increase in dengue cases and has already intensified its actions against the disease.
“We are now implementing the programs the DOH has specified, together with the LGU’s own programs like the barangay cleanups,” he said. He added that they now conduct cleanup operations every Saturday. Barangay leaders, he pointed out, were instructed to report stagnant canals or waterways, which serve as the mosquitoes’ breeding ground.
Nery explained that even though the health budget for 2014 is not that much, help from the communities could go a long way.
“We can’t do this by ourselves. We need the help and support of our barangay leaders and the people in the community. Aside from the cleanups, we need to push a more comprehensive education campaign about dengue,” he said.