DOH intensifies ‘zero-dengue’ strategy

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The Philippines has joined other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in urging the public to strengthen the fight against dengue as part of the commemoration of Asean Dengue Day. This is observed every June 15 based on the declaration of Asean Health Ministers during their meeting held in Singapore on July 22, 2010.

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This year, the Department of Health (DOH) Bicol Region office led efforts to promote the local Asean Dengue Day with its theme focusing on “Search [and destroy mosquito breeding places]and Seek [early consultation].” The event focused on the two core actions of the 4S strategies for effective dengue prevention and control program.

The 4S implementation calls on everyone to become prime movers in achieving substantial change and be positive influencers to others within the community. “The significance of addressing dengue at the barangay [village]level is to overcome its detrimental impact of instigating economic burden and hindering our development goals. The first step to prevent dengue is within our homes, it is important to instill cleanliness in our surroundings and empty containers with stagnant waters to eliminate the breeding places of mosquitoes,” Health Secretary Paulyn Jean Rosell-Ubial said.

“If fever is persistent, with or without rashes, it is imperative to seek early consultation in the health facilities for proper medical management and to avoid serious complications,” she added.

Ubial explained that the fight against dengue needs a multi-sectoral approach toward a sustained integrated vector management, and will need support of the public. Also the support of local government units (LGUs), other government agencies and private sectors will be solicited to visit households and educate the residents on the importance of preventing the spread of dengue.

The challenge to adhere an enhanced 4S implementation is doing them consistently and regularly. A great example is the reactivation of the 4:00 habit, a once a week search for key containers and other breeding sites of mosquitoes and eventually destroy them at 4 p.m. in every household. To institutionalize the “Search and destroy breeding sites” in the locality, the passage and implementation of an ordinance by LGUs is recommended.

Decrease in cases

Meanwhile, there is a decreasing trend of reported dengue cases, according to the DOH-Epidemiology Bureau. Statistics from January 1 to May 20, 2017showed a total of 35,973 dengue cases nationwide, 31.8 percent lower compared to the same time period last year (52,780). Ubial, however, reiterated the ultimate aim is to make the Philippines dengue-free.

Also, scaling-up interventions against dengue is the national roll-out of Dengue NS1 Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT). An administrative order No. 2016-0043 titled “Guidelines for the National Implementation of Dengue Rapid Diagnostic Test RDT” was signed on December 21, 2016. A nationwide orientation was done on the use of Dengue NS1 RDT and capacity building for peripheral health care workers in cooperation with Research Institute for Tropical Medicine. Updating the clinical management guidelines and surveillance flow as well as diagnostic tools like the RDT NS1 antigen for dengue has been introduced. Also, the operating guidelines for the use of Loop Mediated Isothermal Amplification (LAMP) technology to complement the dengue NS1 RDT is near finalization and will be applied at hospital level.

“Dengue prevention should start from us. Make 4S a habit so that together, we can fight and eliminate dengue-carrying mosquitoes and protect ourselves and loved ones against dengue,” Ubial said.

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