DAVAO CITY, Aug. 8 (PIA) - The Department of Health XI is scaling up efforts to inform the public on the gravity of the dengue epidemic that has so far caused 4,345 cases and 21 deaths in Davao Region from January to Aug. 5 this year.
"While the Davao Region has not yet crossed the alert level threshold, there is a big possibility that we may go beyond the threshold in a month given the rising number of cases", said DOH Assistant Secretary Abdullah B. Dumama Jr. in a press conference held early today.
Dumama stressed that the increasing cases of affected and deaths has become a national concern with 7 regions exceeding the epidemic threshold.
The DOH Dengue Surveillance Report identified Regions 4A with 16,515 cases; MIMAROPA with 4,254 cases; Bicol with 3,470 cases; Western Visayas with 23,330 cases; Eastern Visayas with 7,199; Zamboanga Peninsula with 12,317 cases; and Northern Mindanao with 11,455 cases.
The morbidity rate has reached 10,502 cases nationwide which is 71% higher than last year's figures.
In Davao Region, the most number of cases is in Davao City (2,168). Other provinces also have high number of cases: Compostela Valley with 788; Davao Oriental with 641; Davao del Norte with 562; Davao del Sur with 151; and Davao Occidental with 35.
The DOH official clarified that the agency is seriously addressing the dengue epidemic. He also addressed the concern of some individuals that the agency might be just be hyping up the dengue epidemic to justify the need for a dengue vaccine such as Sanofi's Dengvaxia.
" The DOH is not closing the doors to the possibility of having back the Dengvaxia. However, this is not the right time to reconsider that given we are in the middle of an epidemic," Dumama said.
Rest assured, he added, that the DOH will closely study and ensure that if the agency would permit that, it would be certified effective and safe for everyone.
For now, the DOH is doubling efforts to inform the public on their role in dengue prevention.
The DOH with other government agencies, local government units, schools, offices, and communities are conducting the Sabayang 4-o'clock Habit para Deng-Get Out. This focuses on search-and-destroy of mosquito breeding sites as a primary intervention to prevent and control dengue.
Meanwhile, residents in Davao Region are assured that there is enough supply of NS1 test kits as the region gets a 10,000 kits weekly. While it is expected that the supply might not be enough given the rise in demand, the DOH XI reminded the hospitals that they can already request for replenishment in supply.
" The declaration of it being an epidemic nationwide is actually an avenue for the LGUs to access their calamity funds," said Dumama.
The DOH XI has also assured the public that there is enough supply in the blood bank as relayed to the agency. (PIA/Frances Mae Macapagat)