GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/11 Aug) – The city government here has designated the city gymnasium as reserve dengue ward in preparation for the possible escalation of dengue cases in the city in the coming weeks.
Mayor Darlene Antonino-Custodio said she ordered the City Integrated Health Services Office (CIHSO) and other concerned city government departments to coordinate the necessary preparations for the possible accommodation of dengue patients at the city gymnasium in Barangay Lagao.
“All private hospitals are now fully loaded, leaving no option for other patients but the city hospital, which is already crowded,” the mayor said in a report released by the City Public Information Office.
The city hospital here earlier created its own special dengue ward due to the increasing dengue cases since the onset of the rainy season in the area last June.
From January to July, city health personnel recorded at least 566 confirmed dengue cases and at least three deaths due to the disease.
Dr. Jacinto Makilang, CIHSO chief, confirmed that as of Wednesday, the confirmed dengue incidence in the area has reached almost 700 and another fatality was reported.
He said the latest victim, who was identified as seven-year-old Kimberly Garcia, died due to dengue hemorrhagic fever last August 2.
The young Garcia, a Grade 1 pupil at the General Santos City SPED (Special Education) Integrated School, is so far the second pupil from the same school who succumbed to dengue complications.
Makilang said another dengue patient, identified as Michaela Villanueva, 6, of Alabel town in Sarangani, died at a private hospital here last Monday, less than a week after exhibiting signs and symptoms of dengue infection.
The young Villanueva was the third dengue fatality from Alabel, Sarangani and the province’s fourth since January.
Makilang said they have been conducting selective fumigation or fogging operations in several critical communities in the city but he pointed out that the best way to counter the spread of the disease is a regular cleanup of surroundings.
“We’re doing this (fumigation) in selected areas only because it’s not really very much effective when it comes to controlling the population of dengue-carrying mosquitoes. It can surely help ease the situation but so far its success rate is only about 10 percent,” he said.
Aside from questions on its effectiveness, he said anti-dengue fumigation activities entail a lot of costs and required standards. Makilang said the erratic weather in the area may also lessen the effectiveness of fogging operations and possibly spread the dengue-carrying mosquitoes to other neighboring communities.
He reiterated that the city’s anti-dengue campaign is focused on the adoption of the 4-S strategy earlier introduced by the Department of Health — search and destroy, self-protection, seek early treatment, and say no to indiscriminate fogging.
Aside from these, he said the CIHSO and other concerned local government offices have intensified their information drive against dengue mosquitoes in various schools and communities in the city. Custodio had tapped the Philippine National Red Cross for the conduct of mass bloodletting campaigns to help cope with the rising demand for blood among local dengue patients. (Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)