Davao councilor proposes ‘dengue ordinance’

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/29 July) – Alarmed by the year-round threat of dengue, the head of the City Council Committee on Health is proposing to enact an ordinance aimed at reducing the number of cases in the coming years.

Councilor Bernard Al-ag believes that the creation of Dengue Prevention Ordinance will address the year-round threat of the life-threatening disease which is still at a critical level in this city.

“For a problem that is present all year round, we also need an all year round solution and all year round campaign to reduce the number of cases in the coming years,” said Al-ag in his privilege speech Tuesday during the council’s fourth regular session.

The City Council carried the motion of Al-ag, a doctor, and referred it to the Committee on Health.

Al-ag said the proposed ordinance will mandate the creation of a multi-sectoral Barangay Dengue Prevention Council which will convene regularly to address the aspects of dengue prevention.

“This ordinance will penalize and regulate the storage and disposal of rubber tires and other possible dengue breeding materials,” he said.

“This ordinance will also seek to regulate the fogging activity in our community to avoid indiscriminate fogging,” he added.

Last year, a total of 64 people were killed by the mosquito-borne disease while 23 were recorded from January to June this year. Around 2,500 have been hospitalized by the disease.

Dr. Joy Villafuerte, City Health Officer, said her office is conducting a year round activity to combat dengue in the city.

The proposed ordinance, according to Villafuerte, must adhere to the Department of Health’s advocacy against dengue — search and destroy the breeding sites of Aedes Aegypti mosquitoes such as coconut husks and empty bottles and tin cans, to wear protective clothing to avoid mosquito bites, to seek immediate treatment when symptoms set in, and to stop indiscriminate fogging.

In a related development, the City Council on Tuesday approved a resolution requiring the blood centers to open on extended working hours even on weekends and add manpower to cater to the rising need for blood while the dengue case is still at a critical level.

“These institutions are unable to accommodate the high volume of people needing their services due to their limited working hours and lack of personnel to attend to the people,” said Councilor Marissa Abella, the proponent of the resolution, referring to the blood banks in this city, including that of the Department of Health and the Philippine National Red Cross.

According to Abella, whose son was hospitalized because of the disease, the families of dengue patients encountered difficulty to procure blood for transfusion.

Villafuerte thanked the City Council for coming out with a resolution requiring the blood centers to open on extended working hours even on weekends.

“They must be open 24/7,” she said.

Last week, the city government put up an “express lane desk” upon the order of Mayor Sara Duterte to cater exclusively to dengue patients.

“It would fast-track the assistance needed by the patients,” said Lemuel Ortonio, the mayor’s chief of staff.

The mayor also ordered to extend “automatic full assistance” to all Dabawenyo dengue patients and to the relatives of those who died of the disease, he added.

Upon the instruction of the mayor, we made emergency purchase of medicines for the dengue patients,” said Nanette Macapundag, head of Lingap Para sa Mahirap, a health care program of the city government.

She added “we have been doubling our effort here to serve the people of Davao City who suffered dengue. We are working 24/7 with utmost desire to provide the needs of our dengue patients.” (Rico Biliran / MindaNews)

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