GENERAL SANTOS CITY(MindaNews/11 November)– Health authorities in South Cotabato province are targeting to totally eradicate malaria, a mosquito-borne disease, within the next three years.
Dr. Rogelio Aturdido Jr., South Cotabato Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO) chief, said they have intensified their surveillance and control activities for malaria in areas where it had been noted to be prevalent to prevent the emergence of new cases.
He said that since January last year, the IPHO has not recorded a single case of malaria in any part of the province’s 10 towns and the capital Koronadal City.
“We’re hoping to maintain our clean record until the end of the year and sustain it in 2014, 2015 and 2016 so we can be declared as malaria-free by 2017,” he said.
A report released by the Department of Health (DOH) Region 12’s Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (RESU) showed that no malaria cases were recorded in the province from January to October this year.
Region 12 comprises the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.
The region’s malaria incidence during the period has reached 27 cases or two more than last year’s figures.
Not a single death was so far recorded this year, a significant improvement when compared to the two fatalities during the period last year.
Sultan Kudarat posted the most number of confirmed malaria cases with 13, followed by North Cotabato with seven, Sarangani and this city with three each and Cotabato City with one.
The RESU report noted that eight of the patients had history of travel two weeks before they were diagnosed with malaria.
It said two of the patients had traveled to Indonesia while two others separately visited Papua New Guinea and a part of Africa.
One was working in Palawan since 2000 while the three others had history of travels to malaria-endemic areas in Palimbang town and Barangay Salumping in Esperanza town, both in Sultan Kudarat, and Balabagan town in Lanao del Sur.
On Monday, the DOH-12 spearheaded another “border operation” against malaria at the tri-boundaries of this city and the provinces of South Cotabato and Sarangani.
Aturdido said the week-long activity will be conducted in Barangay Amsipit in Maasim, Sarangani and the neighboring areas.
He said the IPHO sent its malaria team to join the operation along with their counterparts from this city and Sarangani Province.
The malaria team previously participated in the same activity along the province’s boundary areas with Sultan Kudarat province, he said.
During the operation, Aturdido said the malaria teams will be spraying households with anti-mosquito chemicals as well as conduct health education sessions and malaria case finding among residents.
“Residents who have fever or other malaria symptoms will be subjected to blood smear to check whether they are positive or negative of the disease,” he added. (MindaNews)