Community involvement is the weakest link says DOH
By Elmer James Bandol
LEGAZPI , 20June2013 (BicolToday.com) – Dengue cases which remained a public health threat are increasing at a rate proportionate to the growing population in the country besting other countries in Asia Pacific Region, according to the Department of Health (DOH) mentioning community involvement as the weakest link.
“This is not an honor for our country. This is shared responsibility call for our local government units”, said Dr. Lyndon Leesuy, program manager of Dengue Prevention & Control Program of the DOH, during the first Joint Media-Public & LGU Forum held Monday at Hotel St. Ellise, here.
“We can never be complacent, we may be heading for crisis situation” Leesuy said,, after quoting the report of the World Health Organization (WHO) that one percent of 100 thousand population or 1,000 persons are affected with dengue and the Philippines has 120 recorded dengue mortality for every 15,000 cases.
According to Leesuy, the viral disease carried by mosquitoes, aedis egypty, is growing and increasing at a particular rate more rapid in urban areas, a ground for public health threat and while the discovered vaccine against dengue expected to be available in 2015 would help comfort but not protective sure to the new found fourth strain virus.
Despite DOH’s key programs, like surveillance, information and education campaign in partnership with the private sector, local initiatives on prevention and control, and community mobilization seemed not enough solution to the emergence and re-emergence of dengue, noted by the health official.
In the forum it was learned that the “the four o’clock habit”-, search & destroy the breeding grounds of mosquitoes; maintaining clean surroundings- is not a common practice yet in communities. “Fear factor is not enough” Leesuy opined and asserted that there is a change of advocacy every three years due to failure by the new elected officials to continue the programs against dengue. “May be, the LGUs could adopt a color code, red for dangerous and green for cleared barangays” he added.
DOH Bicol Regional Director, Dr. Gloria J. Balboa has challenged stakeholders of health programs to put into action the good practices of LGUS that have been successful in fighting dengue in their areas of concern. “It is time to act now” she said.
Mentioning the factors behind the recurring dengue problems such as; population growth rate; lack of governance continuity and complacency on the part of the community, the health officials denied that they are putting the blame on anybody.
Meanwhile, DILG Bicol Director Blandino Maceda, has called on the Sangguniangs to institutionalize the good practices of the LGU that has contributed significant results to the anti-dengue campaign in the region. He asked for the support of the local legislators in finding ways, via legislative agenda, that will change negative attitudes in community participation.
So far, the provincial government of Camarines Sur, which has the highest number of dengue cases followed by Albay in Bicol, has already penned best practices in fighting dengue including Naga City, while in Albay, Tabaco City has adopted the same and the City Health Officer Dr. Aldrin Azada is hoping that the newly elected mayor will support or give more to it. [BicolToday.com/EJB]