Diarrhea outbreak hits village in Sarangani

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 18 February) – Emergency health workers have been dispatched to an upland village in Malapatan town, Sarangani province to contain a suspected outbreak of diarrhea that already left a person dead and eight others hospitalized.

Municipality of Malapatan, Sarangani. Map courtesy of Google

Malapatan Mayor Salway Sumbo Jr. said Thursday the diarrhea cases were reported to have emerged in the past several days in Sitio Anduway of Barangay Upper Suyan, one of the town’s remotest communities.

He said a purok chairman in the area identified as Francisco Managka died after suffering from severe diarrhea-like symptoms.

“He already had a lingering illness. It was reportedly aggravated by diarrhea and he did not recover,” Sumbo said in an interview over radio station Bombo Radyo.

The mayor said their health workers fetched from the village on Wednesday and brought to a hospital at least eight persons, some of them children, who were downed by similar symptoms.

He said a team of midwives and barangay health workers is already at the site to investigate the possible causes of the resurgence of diarrhea cases, monitor the status of the other residents and render first aid if necessary.

The Municipal Health Office has sent medicines and necessary supplies to immediately treat possible new cases that might emerge, he said.

Sumbo said they are planning to send another team to the area in the coming days to conduct an inventory of the installed water systems, which are mainly dependent on spring resources, for possible contamination due to the almost daily heavy rains.

Citing their records, he said some portions of Barangay Upper Suyan had experienced diarrhea outbreaks reaching two to three times in a year during the rainy season.

“We will also check for leaks in the water lines and possible contamination from the chemicals used by some farmers in spraying their fields,” he said.

The mayor said they are currently facing difficulty in accessing the site due to the damaged roads as a result of the rains.

He said Upper Suyan is about 12 kilometers away from the nearest concreted road in Barangay Daan Suyan and the main mode of travel to the area is by riding horses.

From Upper Suyan proper, he said it took the emergency medical responders at least a day of hike to reach Sitio Anduyan, which is close to the town’s borders with Don Marcelino town in Davao Occidental.

The mayor said they are hoping that the rehabilitation and upgrading of the main road leading to Upper Suyan would be completed soon to facilitate the delivery of more interventions in its remote communities. (MindaNews)