Health Care

With over 600 deaths recorded, Philippines Announces National Dengue Epidemic

With over 600 deaths recorded, Philippines Announces National Dengue Epidemic”

Joint press conference to address the dengue epedemic held at Camp Aguinaldo on Tuesday with Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Science Secretary Fortunato T. dela Peña, and National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council Executive Director Ricardo Jalad, among others. This is one of the primary interventions to prevent and control dengue. "The Department of Health's seeming band-aid solution to the problem is to distribute dengue kits that may contain mosquito repellent or net, soaps, a thermometer, antipyretic tablets and other items that may alleviate the symptoms of dengue", Deputy Minority Leader Janette Garin, a former DOH chief, said. Last week, more than 1,000 people in Bangladesh were diagnosed with dengue in a 24-hour period, and hospitals are now overflowing with patients.

Manila banned the sale, import and distribution of the Dengvaxia vaccine in February following the deaths of several dozen children who were among more than 700,000 people given shots in 2016 and 2017 in a government immunization campaign. DOH Undersecretary Eric Domingo said legal experts of the DOH are studying the appeal filed by Sanofi Pasteur. Romualdez said what is needed now is "an emergency response that involves integrated action from the national level down to barangay level".

The authorities have said dengue remains "localised" and is not a national epidemic.

This, even as Recto acknowledged "the fight against dengue is not for DOH alone to wage but for the whole country", conceding that "one agency can not win the war: It must be joined by the people". "One agency can not win the war".

The Senate President pro tempore welcomed positive steps being taken by the DOH to defeat the epidemic, even as he stressed that "there is no magic pill against the virus". A total of seven regions of the country now have a declared dengue epidemic situation. Based on the DOH Dengue Surveillance Report, Region 6 (Western Visayas) has the highest number of cases at 23,330 followed by Region 4-A (Calabarzon) with 16,515; Region 9 (Zamboanga Peninsula) with 12,317; Region 10 (Northern Mindanao) with 11,455 and Region 12 (Soccsksargen) with 11,083. "If Dengvaxia is proven effective to those who already had dengue in the past, then its application to these individuals will surely cause the decline of the overall number of cases".

While he was "in a quandary" regarding the use of Dengvaxia, Duterte said the perceived risk had to be weighed against the 662 deaths from out of the 146,000-plus dengue cases monitored by the government so far this year.

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