GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/12 Nov) — The city government has distributed some 3,000 insecticide-treated mosquito nets to households in four villages in the city that earlier reported positive cases of malaria.
Dr. Corazon Rodaje, Malaria and Dengue coordinator of the City Integrated Health Services Office (CIHSO), said the move was part of their ongoing efforts to help contain and eliminate the mosquito-borne disease in the city, which has so far recorded seven positive cases, with one fatality.
She said they started distributing the treated mosquito nets last October in Barangays Labangal, Apopong, City Heights and San Isidro, to prevent the pread of the disease.
The CIHSO placed the four villages under close monitoring for malaria also due to their proximity to a slow-flowing stream, which it considers a “perfect breeding place for mosquitoes.”
“We’ve been encouraging residents in these areas to use treated net because it has the capability to repel or kill mosquitoes, especially during night time, the biting time for the disease vectors,” Rodaje said.
Rebecca Ocat, CIHSO health educator, said the seven confirmed cases in the city were recorded from January to September this year. Of the seven cases, she said only three were considered “indigenous” or had originated in the city.
“Four of the malaria patients got infected while they were still outside the city – one in Indonesia, two in Papua New Guinea and our lone mortality case came from Balut Island in Davao del Sur,” Ocat said.
Dr. Jebie Areen Biron, Department of Health (DOH)-Region 12 malaria coordinator, said they are presently intensifying their campaign against malaria among local residents to control the disease’s prevalence in the region.
Region 12 covers the provinces of South Cotabato, Sarangani, Sultan Kudarat, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.
“There’s a need to significantly reduce the malaria burden so that it will no longer affect the socio-economic development of individuals and families in endemic areas,” she said in a press conference here.
The DOH-12 earlier launched a massive information and education campaign for its Malaria Control Program (MCP), which aims to eliminate the disease within the region by the year 2020.
The agency mainly tapped the media sector in the region to help in the dissemination of the key communication messages of the MCP to concerned individuals, especially to populations that are deemed at high risk to Malaria infection.
Biron said the campaign centers on the reality that “malaria is dangerous but is a preventable and curable disease.” She said they are also educating households in vulnerable areas on measures to prevent malaria infection and providing them with insecticide-treated mosquito nets. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)