By Hannah Torregoza, Anthony Giron, Tara Yap and Niño Luces
With the increasing number of dengue cases and deaths, Senator Nancy Binay on Thursday stressed the importance of local government units’ (LGUs) decisive role in arresting the spread of the virus.
In Cavite, Governor Juanito Victor “Jonvic” Remulla Jr. declared a province-wide dengue outbreak and state of calamity to instill awareness among the citizens, conduct actions, and implement measures in the fight against dengue.
In Iloilo, Gov. Arthur Defensor Jr. convened the Iloilo Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council as district hospitals and rural health centers scramble to handle the rising number of dengue patients. The Iloilo provincial government is now considering declaring a state of calamity.
In the Bicol region, the regional office of the Department of Health (DOH) said that 30 dengue deaths have been report out of the 2,660 cases recorded from January 1 to July 13, this year.
Binay said LGUs can help in mapping areas where dengue cases have been spotted but still unreported.
“Habang may panahon pa, wag na nating hintayin pang umabot sa epidemic proportions ang sitwasyon ng dengue (While there is still time, let’s act on it and not wait for the dengue situation to reach epidemic proportions),” Binay said.
“The LGUs role is crucial in mapping and monitoring incidence of outbreaks. They may be tapped to help in mobilizing barangays should there be a need to come up with an epidemic preparedness and response plan,” the senator pointed out.
Binay issued the reminder following the Department of Health’s (DOH) declaration of a nationwide dengue alert after noting a spike in the number of reported cases.
This has also prompted the World Health Organization (WHO) to issue a warning that the situation may reach epidemic proportions.
The declaration of a province-wide dengue outbreak and state of calamity in Cavite was made upon the recommendation of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP or Provincial Council) and the Provincial Health Office (PHO), Remulla said.
The Cavite Provincial Epidemiology Surveillance Unit (PESU) said that dengue outbreak had been declared in at least two cities and six municipalities in the province’s upland and lowland districts.
The latest PESU update report – the period from January 1 to July 13 – revealed that 18 dengue deaths and 3,605 cases have already been recorded in the province.
The outbreak was initially declared in the districts or cities of Dasmariñas and General Trias and the municipalities of Alfonso, Carmona, General Mariano Alvarez (GMA), Indang, Naic and Silang.
In Iloilo, the province’s 42 towns and component city of Passi have more than 5,500 dengue cases and 20 deaths.
Defensor said a state of calamity, which needs the provincial board’s approval, is crucial to release funding to hire more doctors, nurses and medical technologists to fight the outbreak.
The situation has reached the point where district hospitals have to use folding beds for dengue patients, mostly children who have to stay along corridors since there are no more rooms available.
In Maasin town, the public gym has been converted into a makeshift hospital for patients with mild dengue and those suspected with disease.
Other patients are treated at home by friends and relatives who are doctors and nurses after private hospitals refused to admit dengue cases.
One father even shared on Facebook how a camera tripod is used to hang his son’s IV fluid.
Meanwhile, a doctor is pushing for the usage of milk supplement to help fight against dengue. Speaking at a dengue forum, Dr. Daisy Tagada discussed the possible role of Igco colostrum in regulating a person’s immune system.
In the Bicol region, Dr. Aurora Teresa Daluro, DOH regional epidemiologist, said the region has recorded 84 percent rise in dengue deaths compared to last year’s 17 deaths in the same period.
The province of Camarines Sur tops the list with the highest number of deaths with 11, followed by Albay with 10, Sorsogon with 5, Camarines Norte with 2, while Catanduanes and Masbate both have one death each.
In terms of confirmed dengue cases, Camarines Sur is still on top with 1,113 cases, followed by Albay with 524, Sorsogon with 477, Catanduanes with 246, Masbate with 170, and Camarines Norte with 128 cases.
According to Daluro, the most affected ages in confirmed dengue cases were 11 to 15 years old.
In terms of deaths, 6 to 10 years old were mostly affected. Sixty-three percent or 19 of the deaths are female.
Despite the high number of cases and deaths, which have exceeded the epidemic threshold, there is no declaration of dengue outbreak in the region, Daluro said.