Based on the average malaria cases per year, North Cotabato was included in Category B, or areas where cases of malaria have reached betwewen100 to 1,000.
Since 2004, the DOH has recorded 896 malaria cases in North Cotabato. The highest incidence was recorded in 2006 with 243 cases and four deaths.
Of the more than 990,000 population of the province, more than 170,000, or five percent of its total population, are considered at risk with malaria.
Of the 14 towns in North Cotabato considered endemic to malaria, Carmen recorded the highest with 253 cases since 2004. The following Carmen villages reported incidences of the disease: Bentangan, Tambad, Cadiis, Macabenban, Liliongan, Malapag and Tonganon.
The DoH said that an estimated 11 million in the country are at risk for the disease.
Malaria parasites are transmitted by female anopheles mosquitoes to humans.
The parasites multiply within the red blood cells, causing symptoms that include anemia or light headedness, shortness of breath, as well as other general symptoms such as fever, chills, nausea, flu-like illness, and in severe cases, coma and death.
Malaria is widespread in tropical and subtropical regions, including parts of Asia and Africa.
The DOH said that there was still much left to be done to ensure continuous decline in cases and deaths due to malaria.
It has already called on local government units to allocate resources to provide malaria diagnostic and treatment services.
The DOH has also recommended that in areas considered endemic for malaria, the communities must participate in locally initiated malaria-control activities such as net distribution, net re-treatment, case-finding, and reporting of suspected malaria cases.
“They [the communities] must practice and promote these preventive measures. One of which is to sleep under an insecticide-treated mosquito net every night,” the DOH said. (MindaNews)