Dengue invades Sarangani

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 5 Aug) – The provincial government of Sarangani has declared a dengue alert in all barangays and households in the province due to the rising cases of the deadly mosquito-borne disease.

Sarangani Gov. Steve Chiongbian-Solon said he has directed health personnel in the province to intensify their campaign against the disease, which already reached a total of 1,038 confirmed cases and 11 deaths as of July 29.

Such directive was specifically issued to Provincial Health Office (PHO) personnel, sanitary inspectors of the province’s seven municipalities and barangay officials.

The PHO’s epidemiology and surveillance unit said the recorded dengue cases in the province from January to July this year has increased by about 687 percent when compared to the same period last year.

It said that in the first seven months of 2012, the province only recorded a total of 166 confirmed dengue cases and three deaths.

Of the 11 dengue deaths in the province this year, PHO records showed that three cases each were recorded in the municipalities of Alabel and Maasim, two in Glan and one each in Kiamba, Malapatan and Malungon.

Two dengue deaths were recorded in Barangay Alegria in Alabel town in late June to early July due to an outbreak of the disease in the area.

But the disease incidence in the area has so far eased due to intensive interventions by the PHO and the Alabel municipal health office, said Dr. Arvin Alejandro, Sarangani health officer.

He said they have not recorded a single dengue case so far within the area in the last two weeks.

In Maasim town, the PHO said the three dengue deaths there were recorded from July 18 to 27 in Barangay Kablacan.

Alejandro attributed the significant rise in dengue incidence in the province to the prompt surveillance, validation and investigation by concerned offices of the reported cases.

He said the recorded cases were minimal last year as reports on the disease usually come in a month delayed while the surveillance activities at the community level were considered weak then.

“This time, the PHO (regularly) alerted barangay officials to mount massive campaigns for the prevention and containment of dengue,” he said in a statement issued by the Sarangani Information Office.

Alejandro said local health workers have also engaged in co-awareness activities at the community level as strategy for sustainable intervention.

The official said their office has mandated all municipal sanitary inspectors to come up with a weekly plan for vector control activities.

He said they will utilize all available chemicals at their office for the conduct of massive dengue prevention activities until yearend.

The Sarangani Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council earlier passed a resolution allocating P1 million for the “purchase chemicals for dengue prevention like Sumilarv for broadcast application and Vector for indoor spraying.”