Dengue preparedness up in Bukidnon PDRRMC meet

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/12 April) – Preparations for a dengue outbreak in Bukidnon will top the agenda in a meeting of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council slated on April 13.

Dr. Josephine Ibalio, chair of the Department of Health’s mosquito-borne disease program in Bukidnon on Friday said that in 2009 she had proposed for inclusion in the provincial budget at least P6 million for dengue.

She said the proposal was included in the Provincial Integrated Plan for Health which she helped prepare as a member of the technical working group on dengue control.

She said the proposal was disapproved but added she will still push for the fund’s inclusion in the 2011 budget.

The budget was supposed to be used to buy platelet separators, clinical refrigerators, and other equipment for blood banking, and for information and education campaign.

Municipal health officers also recommended the purchase of an ambulance and fumigators for rural health units.

Ibalio said the provincial government must have at least a supplemental budget for dengue and not just rely on calamity funds in case an outbreak occurs.

“I disagree about preparing a budget for dengue on the need-basis only or as an emergency (recourse). It will come too late (for the needed action),” Ibalio told reporters in a briefing organized by the Provincial Health Office Friday.

She cited the experience this year when calls for a declaration of a state of calamity took long and the resolution only came after the Regional Epidemiology Surveillance Unit (RESU) had ruled that the number of cases had dropped.

“One lesson from this years’ experience is to declare the state of calamity right away (when the cases soar up) like in July (2010),” she added.

Bukidnon did not declare a state of calamity this year following a check on the statistics of dengue cases. The Provincial Health Office said many of the cases counted were not confirmed to be dengue infections.

Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri earlier announced he has allotted P25 million to the Bukidnon Provincial Medical Center for a separate ward for tropical diseases like dengue.

But Gov. Alex Calingasan announced during the project’s groundbreaking on March 26 that it will be used for the construction of additional private wards at the hospital. (Walter I. Balane / MindaNews)