Honor student one of 38 who died of dengue in 1st quarter in Central Visayas
CEBU CITY — Arturo Tecson Jr. brought with him something precious when he went back to work to Saudi Arabia on Saturday: His daughter’s medal.
He wanted to keep it to honor the memory of Allyza Marie, 18, who didn’t make it to her senior high school graduation last April 4.
She died of dengue last March 15, about three weeks before she was supposed to graduate in senior high with honors at the Asian College of Technology Bulacao campus in Talisay City, about 12 km south of here.
Allyza was one of the 38 people who died of dengue in Central Visayas since the start of the year.
The number of dengue cases had gone up to 6,521 from Jan. 1 to April 16, the highest number in the country.
Dengue Program coordinator Ronald Jarvic Buscato said that at this rate, the dengue cases in 2019 could surpass the more than 27,500 cases recorded in 2016, considered an epidemic year for dengue.
For Arturo, losing his daughter to dengue happened very fast.
He recalled that he was in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where he worked as a surveyor for a telecommunications company when Allyza told him in a video call on March 12 that she had high fever.
“Before we ended our conversation, she told me that she was tired and she wanted to sleep already. I told her ‘pray before going to sleep.’ That was the last time we spoke,” Arturo said.
The next day, Allyza was brought to the Talisay District Hospital where it was discovered that her platelet count was dangerously low.
Still, she continued working on her school projects because she wanted to maintain her good grades.
“I told her that she didn’t have to be number one. All I want is for her to learn. I’m just grateful that her grades were high,” he said.
When her platelet count dropped to 7, she went to a dengue hemorrhagic shock.
“While she was being revived, my niece made a video call. I told my daughter to be strong and to fight for her life. I told her I would go home no matter what happened. I told her we still have dreams to pursue,” he recalled.
His niece told him that Allyza apparently heard him because she was crying and her vital signs seemed to stabilize.
She was transferred to a private hospital in Cebu City but died the next day.
Allyza was buried on March 24 in their native Tacloban City.
During the graduation rites on April 4, Arturo went up on stage to receive the award for his daughter.
“I asked for strength that I may be able to endure stepping on stage amid the pain I felt. I want to continue what my daughter started even if she is no longer here. I have to finish her achievements,” she told the Inquirer over the phone.
While receiving the medal, students and teachers gave him a standing ovation – many of them in tears.
“I have to be strong even as I tried to contain my emotions,” he said.
Arturo said he was still shocked with the death of his daughter who wanted to become a flight attendant in the future.
“I did not expect this to happen. I treated her not just as a daughter but as a friend. We were very transparent with each other. I can’t explain what I feel. I am speechless and I can’t move on,” he said.
Arturo said it was not easy to lose her eldest child especially when he still had to recover from the death of his fourth child, a six-year-old daughter – who died of sepsis in 2017.
He said he still would not know how to live a normal life again without his two daughters.
Both he and Allysa, he said, dreamnt of flying in one plane together.
“I and Allysa shared a dream. I told her I may be able to ride the same plane with her when she’s a flight attendant,” Arturo quipped.
“Now she’s gone. I still don’t know how to deal with it,” he added.
The DOH anticipated that 2019 would be an epidemic year for dengue – three years after the last epidemic year in 2016 when cases went up to more than 27,500.
Buscato of the DOH dengue program said the 2019 figures were “very alarming” since the cases had already reached the 6,000 level for the first four months.
In 2016, the 6,000 level was achieved only in June and July.
As of April 6, the number of dengue cases in the region went up 252 percent higher compared to the same period in 2018 which registered only 1,768 cases and 12 deaths.
The DOH-7 regional epidemiology surveillance unit report also showed that most of these cases were in Cebu City with 784 cases followed by Lapu-Lapu City, 495 cases; Mandaue City, 323 cases; Dumaguete City in Negros Oriental, 221 cases; and Buenavista town in Bohol at 192 cases.
Dengue cases continue to go up despite the dry spell due to the practice of storing water.
“People tend to store water and if it is not covered properly, they will become instant breeding grounds,” Buscato reiterated.
Health officials advise people to continue to check and destroy all possible breeding grounds of mosquitos like stagnant water.
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