Dengue outbreak declared in WV

HEALTH Secretary Francisco Duque speaks to the DOH Regional Director Marlyn Convocar via video conference on Monday. (Emme Rose Santiagudo)

By: Emme Rose Santiagudo

EXCEPT for Negros Occidental, dengue outbreak has been declared in all the five provinces in Western Visayas following the surge of dengue infections to more than 15,000, the highest in the country.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque approved the recommendation of the Department of Health-Center for Health Development (DOH-CHD)-6 to declare an outbreak in the region through a video conference on Monday.

DOH-CHD 6 Regional Director Marlyn Convocar reported to Duque that the region has already recorded 15,746 cases with 87 deaths from January 1 to July 6, 2019.

“Compared to the 4,684 and 40 deaths recorded last year in the same period, we registered a 236 percent increase in the number of cases,” she said.

Convocar also reported that Iloilo, Guimaras, Capiz, and Aklan provinces have all declared outbreaks in their respective areas while Antique has been placed under a state of calamity.

“Iloilo province recorded the highest number of dengue cases with 5,327 while Guimaras recorded the highest increase at 1,030 percent and the highest attack rate is recorded in Aklan at 346,” she said.

Duque agreed to the recommendation of the regional office emphasizing that Western Visayas registered the highest number of dengue cases in the region.

“We concur because evidently the number of cases and particularly the attack rate are rather staggering. Based on our data, Region 6 reported the highest number of dengue cases followed by Region IV –A with 11,474 and 46 deaths; Region 7 with 9,199 cases and 60 deaths and Region 12 with 9,107 cases and 41 deaths,” he said.

To counter the outbreak, Duque assured the regional office of the full support from the central office.

During the video conference, he said that the central office will commit 18,375 NS1 test kits and more IV fluids to the region.

He also agreed to the request of Convocar to delay the implementation of the school-based immunization (SBI) by two months and to order a moratorium on trainings for the regional office to focus their efforts on the dengue outbreak

“We will have to wait until end of November to be able to achieve our target of 95 percent herd immunity in Region 6,” he said.

Duque also reminded the health department to monitor the management of dengue cases in the hospitals in the region.

“Hopefully we are reminded of the best critical practices management of all dengue cases especially those affecting children. All Rural Health Units (RHUs) should closely monitor the hydration of the dengue cases. Making sure you do not overhydrate them and always practice the 4S,” he said.

Meanwhile, Convocar said that 228 health personnel composed of 24 medical technologists, 16 doctors and 189 nurses have been deployed in the region to monitor the dengue cases.

She added that all the private hospitals have also agreed that they will accept all overflowing dengue patients from district and provincial hospitals.

“Nag-agree na ang Iloilo diri. May mga resources man kita mahulag like mga medical assistance for indigent patients. The Philippine Red Cross has also offered additional beds and other partner agencies committed that they will help us in their own ways. Kung tanan bala kita gahugpong, makaya ta gid ni. We don’t want this to happen again in the next three years,” she said.

But to fully counter the increasing dengue cases, she appealed to the community to practice religiously the conduct of cleanup especially on the households.

“We should really clean our surroundings especially sa aton pamalay and make sure that there is no stagnant water kay pwede gid na mangin breeding ground sang lamok. Stagnant water should be eradicated. Let’s not also forget to practice 4S,” she said.

This was the first time that a dengue outbreak was declared in Western Visayas.

Since 2010, the region has also been experiencing cyclical increase in dengue cases every three years.

Records from the health department showed that the region recorded 27,264 with 137 deaths in 2010, 22,392 with 69 deaths in 2013 and 26,440 cases and 88 deaths in 2016.