Marking the second Asean Dengue Day, the World Health Organization on Friday urged its member countries to curb the prevalence of dengue fever by boosting partnership with the private and public sector, saying that the disease continues to be a public health threat.
The organization said the Asia Pacific Region accounted for 75 percent of the current global disease burden. Globally, the mosquito-borne disease claims about 20,000 deaths every year.
“Dengue cannot be defeated by the health sector alone. It needs the involvement of both private and public sector stakeholders. Member states need to work together as one community to fight it,” said the WHO in a statement.
June 15 was declared Asean Dengue Day during the 10th Asean Health Ministers Meeting in Singapore on July 22, 2010. The event is supported by a community of experts calling for a shift from reactionary strategies to forward planning and long-term prevention programs.
The Department of Health also joined its Asean neighboring countries Friday in commemorating the event as nationwide dengue cases increased over the last six months.
From January to June 2, the health agency monitored 32,193 cases. The figure is 3.89 percent higher compared to the same period last year. Most of the cases were attributed to Metro Manila, which registered 7,670 incidents.
Central Luzon accounted for the second highest number of incidents (5,552 cases) followed by Calabarzon (4,508 cases). So far, 195 deaths due to the disease have been recorded in the last six months.
Health Secretary Enrique Ona said his office was looking at boosting community action against dengue by tapping information technology to implement “specific targeting” of the disease in communities.
This process would allow real-time reporting of dengue cases from rural health units and hospitals, he said.
Under the system, rural health units or hospitals are expected to immediately report suspected dengue cases to a dengue coordinator, who would forward the message to the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) and to the barangay-based health team.
The health team will then conduct investigation to the affected area and visit the patient on the same day while the PIA will conduct a “text blast” about dengue prevention, according to the DOH. The team will also be responsible for identifying other possible patients in the neighborhood.
The new tack in curbing the incidence of dengue cases will be pilot-tested in San Fernando, Pampanga, which registered a high number of dengue incidents last year, the DOH said.