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Laoag City girl scouts use plant to combat dengue


IN their fight to mitigate dengue cases in the province of Ilocos Norte, girl scouts of a children’s school in Laoag City has started propagating a plant species known as citronella for its insect repellant properties.

Jovelyn Ermitanio, Kids Kollege Inc.-Girl Scout of the Philippines (KKI-GSP) troop leader, said their initiative complies with the call of the Department of Health and the Ilocos Norte provincial government to help mitigate dengue cases in the province through citronella production.

“We are one with the province in observing the cleanliness of surroundings to keep the school dengue-free for the pupils in addition to our growing of citronella activities,” she said.

According to Ermitanio, their program dubbed as “Grow Citronella: Patay Kang Lamok Ka,” is aimed at intensifying their efforts to reduce the incidence of the dreaded dengue fever, and other mosquito and water-borne diseases in communities, especially affecting the youth.

“We have initially started our program combating the dreaded dengue disease in September’s last quarter in collaboration with private stakeholders including the Senior Citizens’ Association of Barangay 12 in Laoag City,” she said.

Ermitanio explained that citronella (cymbopogon winterianus jowitt) is a plant known for its insect-repelling properties which drive away mosquitoes, among other insects.

“Our sponsors have given us around 300 citronella stalks, which we planted at a 179-square meter lot at village 12 and have prepared five plots for these citronella,” she said.

She explained that the citronella should stay at a shady area from one to two weeks before they are transferred to the plots and wait for eight to nine months until they are ready for harvest.

“The KKI-GSP chapter has collaborated with the community to ensure the healthy production of the citronella and we are confident that this project will benefit nearby communities and the entire province,” Ermitanio said.

She said their target is to distribute the citronella to village 12 households, which will be replicated in other villages in the province.

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