DOH Initiative Lowers Dengue Deaths By 78%

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The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday said its initiative against dengue has lowered the number of deaths by as much as 78 percent from January 1 to August 15 this year.

One year after the national dengue epidemic was announced in August 2019, reported dengue cases have dropped from 430,282 to 59,675 in 2020.

Dengue mortalities have also significantly dropped from 2019 with 1,612 deaths versus 231 as of August 15, 2020.

The DOH multi-pronged approach that works in direct cooperation with medical centers and local government units (LGUs) also aims to reduce cases of water-borne infectious diseases, influenza, and leptospirosis, including dengue (W.I.L.D.), which usually peaks at the start of the rainy season.

Through epidemiological data and analysis submitted, the DOH has noted that W.I.L.D. illnesses peak significantly in the months of July and October due to fluctuating weather conditions, flooding, and accumulation of contaminated water.

However, for this year there was an observed significant decrease in the number of cases compared to the same time period in 2019.

“After the dengue epidemic of 2019, we have been working vigorously to decrease dengue cases via a systemic approach that involves every level of the community,” said Dr. Norielyn Evangelista, Program Manager of the National Aedes-borne Viral Diseases Prevention and Control Program (NAVDPCP).

The NAVDPCP’s current activities in 2020 include updating the Dengue Manual of Operations and Administrative Order No. 2012-006: Revised Dengue Clinical Practices Guidelines through Technical Working Group Meeting; partnering with UP-Philippine General Hospital (PGH), UP-National Institutes of Health (NIH), Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), and World Mosquito Program; and releasing administrative issuances.

Through these efforts, the DOH will roll out the Nucleic Acid Amplification Test-Loop Mediated Isothermal Amplification Assay (NAAT-LAMP) which offers cheaper and simpler dengue diagnosis.

It will also implement the Wolbachia Project within Bicol-Center for Health Development as part of a non-invasive way to control the local dengue-carrying mosquito population.

Administrative releases underlined guidelines in establishing dengue centers of excellence in tertiary hospitals, creating dengue fast lanes, and conducting dengue mortality review.

In these advisories, preparation for W.I.L.D. illnesses with special consideration for the present Covid-19 pandemic are shared from surveillance, integrated vector management, to the submission of reports to the National Dengue Prevention and Control Program and Infectious Diseases Office of the Disease Prevention and Control Bureau.

Materials that cover the need for the destruction of mosquitoes’ breeding places, wearing insect-repellant uniforms, and following the 4S-Enhanced Strategies for Dengue have also been disseminated. (PNA)

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