By Mario Casayuran
Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, chairman of the Senate health and demography committee, on Monday reminded Filipinos to remain vigilant against dengue and other diseases as the country entered the rainy season.
“During this time when we are still facing the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, we should also be prepared to prevent and control possible outbreaks of rainy-day diseases by practicing proper hygiene, and cleanliness in our homes and in our surroundings. We should know what to do when there is an increase in number of cases in our areas of residence or in the workplace,” Go said.
“Our hospitals and health facilities should also be prepared to manage potential cases considering the burden already caused by COVID-19 to our healthcare system,” Go added.
Goalso echoed the advice of the Department of Health (DOH) to Filipinos to take advantage of the quarantine protocols to clean their surroundings and prevent the outbreak of other kinds of diseases like diarrhea, leptospirosis, and influenza.
“Malaki po ang epekto ng malinis na kapaligiran sa pag-iwas natin sa mga sakit. Kaya naman gamitin po sana natin ang pagkakataong ito para panatilihin ang kalinisan ng ating kapaligiran (Clean environment is crucial in avoiding diseases. Hence, we should use this opportunity to maintain cleanliness in our surroundings),” said Go.
Noting how contagious diseases quickly spread and spare no one, Go encouraged Filipinos to clean their surroundings and practice health and safety precautions, not just to protect themselves, but also their loved ones, communities, and the rest of the country.
“Dahil sa ating karanasan sa COVID-19, nakita po natin kung gaano kabilis kumalat ang mga nakahahawang sakit at papaano ito nakaapekto sa pang-araw araw nating pamumuhay. May magagawa po tayo para maiwasan ang pagkalat ng mga ito kung magtutulungan tayo (Due to our experience with COVID-19, we have seen how fast contagious diseases spread and how it affected our daily lives. We can avoid the spread of these diseases if we cooperate and help each other),” he explained.
Go cited DOH’s 4S strategy against dengue to bolster awareness and prevention from the mosquito-borne disease.
“Suyurin at sirain ang mga pinamumugaran ng lamok; Sarili ay proteksyonan laban sa lamok; Sumangguni agad sa pagamutan kapag may sintomas ng dengue; at Sumuporta sa fogging o spraying kapag may banta na ng outbreak (Destroy all the mosquitos’ breeding areas; protect yourselves from mosquitos; see a doctor immediately if you have symptoms of dengue; and support defogging and spraying if there are threats of an outbreak),” he added.
He also reminded the public to adhere to the minimum health standards, such as the practice of physical distancing, use of face masks and handwashing during this time of pandemic.
“At this time, there may again be sudden increase in the number of cases of rainy day diseases among the young and old alike as a result of the spread of viruses and bacteria in relatively enclosed spaces or crowded areas,” he said.
“Bagamat may ulat ang DOH ng pagbaba ng kaso ng dengue sa bansa, manatili pa rin tayong maging vigilant sa dengue at iba uri ng sakit lalo na sa panahon ng COVID-19. (While the DOH has reported a downtrend on dengue cases in the country, we must continue to be vigilant against dengue and other illnesses amid the COVID-19 crisis),” he added
The DOH recently reported that the number of dengue cases in the country from January to May have decreased by 46 percent relative to the same period last year.
According to the DOH Health Promotion and Communication Service, the decrease in dengue cases in the country might be attributed to vector management, increased awareness, and community participation.
“It is vital that everyone is informed about the status of our communities with regards to the trends of the incidence of these diseases so that our LGUs should take the necessary actions to avoid the occurrence of other outbreaks that will compound our problems in dealing with the COVID-19 situation,” Go said.
Given the threat brought about by COVID-19, dengue, and other diseases, Go had previously urged the government to ensure that public hospitals have adequate bed capacity and capabilities to accommodate Filipinos who could get sick in this time of pandemic.