by BA Recebido
Sorsogon City (29 July) — “Finally, we won our battle!”
Thus exclaimed Dr. Noli Arevalo, team leader of the Department of Health-Provincial Health Team (DOH-PHT), following the declaration of Sorsogon as Malaria and Filaria Free province.
Dr. Jaime Y. Lagahid, National Center for Disease Prevention and Control (NCDPC) director, officially declared the province Malaria and Filaria Free in a ceremony held at the Sorsogon Provincial Gymnasium on Thursday (July 23).
Arevalo said that their gregarious efforts to combat these diseases that threatened the lives and dampened productivity of several individuals in the province since 1950’s, have finally been rewarded.
“We thank the DOH for recognizing our sustained efforts and partnerships to curb these diseases, and are likewise grateful to the provincial government for making health among its priority agenda, and our NGO partners for their commitment and support in eliminating these diseases even before our target year in 2010,” he stated.
He also cited the local health workers, who in the past years have carried out house-to-house campaigns and mass drug administration (MDA) for residents aged 2-up in order to control the spread of these diseases.
Out of the 40 provinces in the country, only Southern Leyte and Sorsogon has been declared free of Malaria and Filaria diseases.
Arevalo averred Sorsogon province has attained a certain level based on the parameter of DOH wherein these diseases are considered no longer a public threat.
He related recent assessment revealed that only less than 1 percent of the entire population is affected by Filariasis, adding that the province has also maintained a zero case of indigenous malaria transmission over the past five years.
“However, such scenario does not mean we have to sit back, instead, perhaps work harder to prevent the recurrence of the diseases among locals,” he stressed.
“We are looking forward that Sorsogon can achieve the international standard for a Malaria and Filaria free province set by the World Health Organization (WHO),” he positively said.
Meanwhine, Arevalo advised the residents of Gubat, Pto. Diaz, Barcelona, Casiguran, Irosin, Juban, Donsol and Sta. Magdalena towns to take extra precautions and maintain a good environmental sanitation the possibility of recurrence is still there.
Malaria and Filariasis are both mosquito-borne parasitic diseases and endemic in the said areas, mostly with abaca and banana plantations.
Malaria can cause fever, shivering, joint pain, vomiting, anemia, and convulsions to persons inflicted with the disease, while Filaria is debilitating and disfiguring which primarily affects children, women and men living in endemic remote areas.
“The PHT will continue our massive information drive, monitoring and surveillance, partnership with the DOH and conduct border operations in order to sustain the elimination of these infective diseases,” he said.
DOH conferred to Sorsogon province a certificate of recognition and P1 million for successfully eradicating Malaria and Filaria diseases.
Arevalo noted the cash reward will be utilized anew on advocacy campaigns and other measures to prevent the re-emergence of the said diseases.
Present during the declaration ceremonies were Dr. Leda Hernandez, National Filariasis coordinator and NCDPC division chief, Dra. Florence Tienzo, WHO program management officer, Ms. Daisy Sembrano, Glaxo Mith Kline executive director, NGO partners and other stakeholders and cooperators of the program. (PIA)