ILOILO CITY — Elementary students here have been taught on how to protect themselves from dengue during Friday’s observance of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Dengue Day 2019.
Dr. Rose Marie Lamirez, Medical Officer IV of the Department of Health (DOH) – Center for Health Development (CHD) 6 (Western Visayas) said children themselves should be aware of ways to prevent the mosquito-borne disease.
“Our children are affected – be it in their homes or in schools. For this, we encourage making them aware, for them to know how to take care (of) and protect themselves,” Lamirez stated in an interview at the Jubilee Hall in this city.
“ASEAN Dengue Day is celebrated to raise awareness of dengue and undertake national and regional initiatives in the prevention and control of dengue,” she stated.
This year’s celebration theme, “End Dengue: Starts with me”, emphasizes individual efforts to combat the disease.
“The change must start in the individual because behavioral changes of locals to commit to clean the surroundings can address dengue cases,” Lamirez replied.
Most cases of dengue in the region were recorded among children aged one year to 10 years with 1,926 cases.
It was followed by the 11 years to 20 years age group with 1,284 cases, according to DOH-6 data from January 1 to June 1.
Elementary students who attended the program are expected to spread their awareness among their peers and parents, Lamirez stated.
There were lectures on dengue, particularly the “4S” strategy or search and destroy mosquito breeding places, secure self-protection, seek early consultation, and support fogging only in hotspot areas.
Provincial health offices in the region have also set up booths with interactive activities for children as part of the ASEAN Dengue Day celebration.
“We have informative discussions, games, and presentations that were prepared by our provincial health offices, all solely for the information of everyone, especially the children,” she added.
Lamirez also underscored the role of the community in the fight against dengue.
She noted that villages have been responsive to the health offices’ intensified call to clean the surroundings.
“They are already aware and they are responsive, but we still need to intensify our efforts and get their commitments in helping us combat the disease,” she stated.
Data from the DOH-CHD 6, from January 1 to June 1, show the region had 8,613 dengue cases, 198 percent higher than last year’s 2,886 cases during the same period.
The province of Iloilo has the highest number of cases with 2,516, while Negros Occidental has the greatest number of deaths with 17.