By: Emme Rose Santiagudo
THE dengue outbreak in Western Visayas has now claimed 94 lives as of July 19, 2019, according to the Department of Health-Center for Health Development (DOH-CHD)-6.
The increasing cases also highlighted the severe shortage of beds in hospitals ran by the Iloilo provincial government.
From January to July 19, 2019, the health department recorded 18,834 dengue cases in the region, 259 percent higher compared to the cases recorded last year in the same period.
The killer disease spared no one, not even Iloilo City Councilor Ely Estante and two daughters of Maasin Mayor Francis Amboy who all tested positive for dengue.
The only daughter of former Janiuay Mayor Jose de Paula also succumbed to dengue a week ago.
On Monday, the regional health office, with the concurrence of DOH Secretary Francisco Duque, declared the dengue outbreak in five provinces of Western Visayas – Iloilo, Capiz, Antique, Aklan, and Guimaras.
Data from the Hospital Management Office at the Capitol indicated that 1,140 dengue patients were admitted in the provincial and district hospitals as of July 19, 2019.
All 12 district and provincial hospitals, however, have a total bed capacity of 590.
For this reason, covered gyms in the towns of Maasin and Banate have been converted into temporary hospitals for the dengue patients.
Dr. Marlyn Convocar, regional director of DOH-6 has said on Monday that all the private hospitals in Iloilo have already agreed to accept all overflowing dengue patients from Iloilo provincial and district hospitals.
But private hospitals in Iloilo City are also swamped by patients from the city and neighboring provinces, with long queues congesting emergency rooms.
Moreover, a total of 229 healthcare personnel have also been deployed in the region to monitor the dengue cases.
Amid the outbreak, the West Visayas Regional Blood Center of the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) assured sufficient blood supply for dengue patients.
Dr. Dennis Roy Pasadilla, manager of the West Visayas Regional Blood Center and director of PRC-Iloilo Chapter, said that they are able to serve 80 percent of the blood requirements of dengue patients this week.
“We have sufficient blood supply mainly because of the continuous blood donation activities conducted recently but we have to sustain it to replenish the blood supply,” he said in a phone interview on Thursday.
As of July 18, 2019, Pasadilla said they have 999 blood units comprised of 356 units of Type O, 268 units of Type A, 250 units of Type B, and 125 units of Type AB.
In Iloilo City, a massive cleanup will be conducted on July 20, 2019 in all of its 180 barangays as part of its campaign against dengue.
The city-wide cleanup dubbed as “Ugsaran Tinluan para Balatian Malikawan” (Clean surroundings to avoid sickness) is initiated by Mayor Jerry Treñas and chairman of City Council’s Committee on Health, Councilor Alan Zaldivar.
Sirens of fire trucks and church bells will signal an alarm at 7 a.m. to kick off the cleanup activities.