GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/23 July) — Disaster officials in South Cotabato are pushing for the immediate creation of a special anti-dengue task force to help address the continuing spread of the disease in the province’s 10 towns and lone city.
Nelida Pereira, action officer of the Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council (PDCC), said Friday she has recommended the convening of the council early next week to discuss the establishment of the task force and the necessary interventions to control the rising incidence of
dengue, which already reached 958 confirmed cases and four deaths as of Wednesday.
“We have not yet reached the outbreak level but we’re already nearing the threshold. So far our confirmed cases have been increasing at an alarming rate so I think it’s time for the PDCC to intervene and provide the needed help before the situation worsens,” she said.
The creation of the anti-dengue task force was initially proposed by government and non-government agencies in the province during a multi-sectoral consultation on dengue last week called by the South Cotabato Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO).
Pereira said they are initially planning to establish the proposed Task Force Dengue at the provincial level and later at the city, municipal and barangay levels.
She said the proposed task force would set up specific control strategies and response mechanisms for the disease in coordination with the IPHO.
She said these strategies would be presented later for possible further inputs and approval by South Cotabato Gov. Arthur Pingoy Jr.
A report released this week by IPHO-South Cotabato showed that dengue cases in the province have been on upward trend since the onset of the rainy season in the area last month.
The IPHO recorded at least 312 positive dengue cases in June and another 187 cases for the first two weeks of July.
Dr. Rogelio Aturdido Jr., provincial health officer, said the figures since last month showed that an average of nine to 10 confirmed dengue cases were recorded in the province on a daily basis.
Of the 958 confirmed cases since January, he said Koronadal City topped the list of areas affected by the disease with 248 cases followed by the Polomolok town with 178, Tupi with 107 and Tampakan with 104.
Aturdido said that except for Tantangan town, all nine other towns and lone city of the province have recorded significant increases in confirmed dengue incidence since January.
Pereira said the local government of Tupi already declared a state of calamity due the rising dengue cases and the impact of the recent floods and landslides in the area.
She said the Tupi Municipal Health Office reported that least 86 dengue patients are presently confined at its municipal hospital. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)