According to data from the Department of Health-Region VI (DOH-6) gathered between January 1 and June 1 of this year, the region is currently experiencing a 198 percent increase in recorded cases of dengue fever. The department reported 8,613 cases, with 48 deaths, this year; a staggering increase from the 2,886 cases and 23 deaths recorded during the same period in 2018.
Iloilo reported the most dengue cases with 2,516, followed by Negros Occidental with 2,277. In terms of cities, there are currently 557 recorded cases in Iloilo City, while Bacolod City reported a total of 433.
However, DOH-6 regional entomologist Ma. Lourdes Monegro noted, Guimaras, with its 187 cases, is an 884 percent increase in cases for the island province.
Meanwhile, DOH-6 infectious and emerging disease cluster head, Dr. Elvie Villalobos, despite pointing out the department’s Aksyon Barangay Kontra Dengue scheme, which was intended to rid the region of certain mosquitos, acknowledged the number of dengue cases remains “so high.”
The DOH-6 official went on to remind barangays to practice the “4 O’clock habit” of cleaning their respective neighborhoods daily.
Last month, the Iloilo City Health office (CHO) reminded local residents to keep their surroundings clean as a way to avoid contracting dengue.
“The effective way, in order for mosquitoes not to breed, is to clean your house not only every Saturday but every day,” explained city health officer, Dr. Bernard Caspe. “Do not just rely on barangay officials to clean the surroundings, you should do it yourself.”
In addition, the Iloilo City Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) also passed an ordinance requiring all city barangays to each form an anti-dengue task force.
According to City Councilor Candice Magdalane Tupas, who authored the ordinance and chairs the SP Committee on Health, barangay kagawads voiced concern over individual households unwilling to keep their surroundings clean.
The committee report highlighted the “importance of educating the people of the necessary precautions to avoid a dengue outbreak” and recommended including such topics in school curriculum, along with conducting house-to-house education campaigns./WDJ