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LGUs to combat dengue

LEGAZPI CITY --- The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) in Bicol has directed all governors, city and town mayors in the region to undertake a synchronized sanitation and cleanliness drive after a national dengue epidemic had been declared by the Department of Health (DOH).

Anthony Nuyda, DILG the regional director, said the agency has issued a circular to various local government units activate their respective Dengue Emergency Operation Centers (EOC) in implementing the DOH synchronized “Sabayang 4 o’clock habit para Deng-Get Out” cleanliness drive from the six provinces down to the 3,741 barangays in Bicol.

Nuyda in a phone interview said “we will mobilize our field units to closely monitor preventive and control measures by local government units against dengue.”

He said that after the region had been placed under “Blue Alert” due to the rising incidence of dengue virus by the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC), the agency immediately issued an advisory to all local government units to undertake cleanliness and sanitation drive in their areas.

Dr. Ernie Vera, DOH regional director, told Bicol Mail that he has tapped the services of the DILG in making sure the synchronized “4 o’çlock habit” is carried out thoroughly in the region.

Vera appealed to all stakeholders that the primary interventions to prevent and control dengue are through sustained community efforts by searching and destroying mosquito breeding sites in homes, workplaces and schools.

“We enjoin all government agencies, LGUs, schools, private offices and all the Bicolanos to conduct their Sabayang 4 o’clock habit para Deng-Get Out,” Vera said, Vera said the DOH regional epidemiology surveillance unit (RESU) has recorded from the period January 1 to August 3, this year 4,241 dengue cases with 40 deaths or 157% increase that that of the same period last year with 1,653 cases and with 18 deaths.

Vera explained that the figures reported are only the “tip of the iceberg” as these numbers were gathered from a trendsetting formula where the data were gathered from 11 hospital sentinels across the region.

Asked why are there discrepancies in the reports from the provinces, he said the agency is adopting a trending formula in the report while the complete data could be gathered from the provincial health offices but these data are not immediately available because these need further confirmation and validation.

He said “what we are reporting are only trends but if you are asking for the real numbers the cases would double citing as an example the 4,000 cases reported by DOH that could reach 8,000 cases.”

Dr. Aurora Deluro, DOH RESU chief, said Bicol with iys 6 million population, the ratio of the dengue attacks in the region could be that 70 people are infected with dengue in every 10,000 population.

In 1998 the DOH had declared dengue epidemic in Bicol after recording 900 cases and in 2013 a dengue outbreak was declared in Matnog town in Sorsogon. It was in 2015 that Bicol had the lowest number of recorded cases in the country.

Vera said that after the agency has declared a national dengue epidemic, various LGUs could draw out Quick Response Funds (QRF) from their respective Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) by as much as 30 percent from the 5 percent calamity fund.

DOH in Bicol has set a P5M QRF to be used in combating the spread of dengue.

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