SoCot moves to contain dengue

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/24 July) – The provincial government of South Cotabato has created a special task force to contain the continuing outbreak of the deadly dengue fever in the province.

South Cotabato Gov. Reynaldo Tamayo Jr. ordered the immediate activation of the “Task Force Kontra Dengue” following the declaration last Friday placing the entire province under a state of calamity.

It is composed of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO), Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO), South Cotabato Provincial Hospital, Provincial Information Office and the DRRM offices of the province’s 10 towns and lone city.

Rolly Doane Aquino, PDRRMO operations and warning head, said members of the task force formally convened on Tuesday to set immediate interventions in line with the dengue outbreak.

He said these include the conduct of fogging and misting operations in identified hotspot areas in coordination with the municipal and city governments, and the barangays, as well as massive information and education campaign.

Teams will be dispatched to the affected areas to augment the ongoing interventions of the municipal and city governments, he said.

Aquino said they are currently processing the purchase of at least two misting machines and the required chemicals.

These will be funded under the first and second quarter allocation of the province’s Quick Response Fund amounting to P15.5 million, he said.

“We will also set aside cash assistance for dengue victims and provide funds to the provincial hospital preparation for the possible influx of patients,” he said in a briefing on Tuesday afternoon.

Aquino said they will activate the incident command system to ensure immediate response to emergencies and the proper monitoring of the situation in the affected barangays and the monitoring of their teams.

Based on the dengue bulletin dated July 22 released by the IPHO’s epidemiology and surveillance unit, the reported dengue cases in the province already reached a total of 3,664 and with 21 deaths.

Dr. Alah Baby Vingno, assistant provincial health officer, said such figure was 153 percent higher compared to the 1,664 cases, with five deaths, recorded in the same period last year.

She said Koronadal City posted the most number of cases with 703, followed by Surallah with 478, Tantangan with 468, Banga with 391, Tupi with 347, Norala with 307, Polomolok with 276, Tampakan with 219, Tboli with 192, Sto. Nino with 174 and Lake Sebu with 109.

Vingno said the province’s dengue cases was already above the epidemic threshold or reached the outbreak level as of May and with clustering of cases noted in 91 barangays, 18 of which are considered as hotspots.

The cases per locality increased by 38 to 655 percent, “way higher than our records during the peak of dengue cases in 2016,” she said.

Jose Baroquillo, mosquito-borne diseases coordinator of the IPHO, reiterated the need for local communities to regularly conduct “operation kulob” or search and destroy possible breeding places of dengue-carrying mosquitoes.

He said such strategy remains the best way to contain the dengue outbreak and prevent more deaths.

“It should start within our households and then our immediate surroundings,” he said.

Baroquillo said residents should also seek immediate consultation or checkup at the first instance of fever to ensure proper treatment in case they turn out positive of the disease. (MindaNews)