Davao mayor: Dengue surge ‘disconcerting’
DAVAO CITY—Mayor Sara Duterte expressed anger over the rise in the number of dengue cases and deaths in the city, threatening to fire the local government’s health workers if they fail in two tasks—reduce the number of cases and remove breeding places of mosquitoes.
In a statement, Duterte said she wanted “to see a decrease (in the number of cases) from July to December.”
“Otherwise, there is a need to find new people for this job,” she said.
The City Health Office (CHO) reported 19 dengue deaths in the first six months of the year, more than double the eight deaths reported from January to June in 2015.
“That the number of deaths could reach this high is disconcerting,” the mayor said. “I am appalled because the government is supposed to be doing everything to prevent the breeding of the mosquitoes carrying the virus,” she said.
Dengue, caused by a virus carried by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, is highly preventable “if only efforts to prevent its spread were done efficiently,” Duterte said.
“I have ordered a review of how the local government is fighting dengue and other preventable diseases,” she said. “The agencies involved, the City Health Office particularly, should always be on their toes,” she added.
CHO has been given a budget of P1 million for dengue prevention program this year. Duterte asked the CHO to closely work with barangay officials to eliminate dengue.
“There is an urgent need to eliminate mosquitoes and their breeding places if we want to reduce the number of deaths,” she added.
Dr. Josephine Villafuerte, CHO chief, confirmed that her office has recorded a total of 4,002 dengue cases from January to June.
Of 19 deaths this year, 11 were children, aged 5 and below. The total number of dengue cases across the country has already reached over 57,000 since January this year.
“This only means that the entire country needs to be alert and we must do our part in cleaning our environment and destroying the breeding areas of mosquitoes,” Villafuerte said.
In South Cotabato, the provincial health office reported that 13 persons had died of dengue from January to July 23.
The number of dengue cases in the province reached 2,035.
Dr. Rogelio B. Aturdido Jr., South Cotabato provincial health officer, said dengue had reached epidemic threshold in Koronadal City and the towns of Tupi, Norala, T’boli and Lake Sebu.
Dengue patients from surrounding towns filled the hallways of the South Cotabato provincial hospital, he said.
Dr. Jean Genevive Aturdido, Koronadal City health officer, said cleaning surroundings and destroying breeding sites of dengue-carrying mosquitoes remained to be the most effective solution to the spread of the disease.
Zamboanga City also recorded nine dengue deaths, most of them children under 5 years old, since the start of the year. At least 1,000 had been hospitalized in the city.
Dr. Rodelin Agbulos, Zamboanga City health officer, said while the number of dengue cases in the city had gone down, the figure was still alarming. Germelina Lacorte, Edwin Fernandez and Julie Alipala, Inquirer Mindanao
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