Risk Reduction Council: Surge in dengue cases is a disaster
The almost 140 percent increase or 5,000 recorded dengue cases in Cebu province from Jan. 1 to Sept. 24 this year have been classified as a disaster by the Cebu Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council.
This developed after the members of the PDRRMC approved the resolution yesterday filed by one of the council’s members, Provincial Board Member Christopher Baricuatro, seeking to classify this surge of dengue cases as a disaster.
The PDRRMC, whose members included representatives from the Provincial Board, Provincial Health Office (PHO), provincial police, and the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, held their third quarter meeting yesterday at the Capitol.
Baricuatro said during the meeting that the provincial government would need to classify dengue cases trend in the province as a disaster to allocate funds from Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office to help fund the anti-dengue campaign of the PHO.
“One lost life (because of dengue), para nako disaster na gyud na (for me it’s already a disaster). I suggest if it is possible naay gamayng budget ang PDRRMO magahin for PHO (the PDRRMO can allocate a small budget for PHO to augment budget for anti-dengue campaign),” said Baricuatro during the meeting.
Baricuatro, who cited the PHO’s challenges in its anti-dengue campaign in pushing for the resolution, said that classifying the dengue cases would mean bringing in the manpower needed by the PHO in its campaign.
Dr. Niño Ismael Pastor, PHO public health head, cited during the meeting the depleted funds of the PHO’s anti-dengue drive and the lack of manpower in implementing the drive as among the challenges the PHO has been facing.
Pastor said that aside from their P2 million budget, which was already depleted, the PHO also lacked manpower to implement their anti-dengue campaign.
“Hurot-hurot nasad ang atong manpower,” Pastor said.
He said that their sources for the anti-dengue campaign were already depleted to the point that their sanitary inspectors in every local government unit in the province were overworked.
He said he received reports that there were some who had been helping PHO in its anti-dengue campaign now refusing to help because they were already tired.
“Kaniadto motabang pa (the sanitary inspectors), karon dili na motabang na-burn out na man (They used to help PHO but now that they are burned out they refused to help us),” Pastor said.
Pastor, who described the nearly 200 percent increase in the cases of dengue in the province as an “outbreak,” said he welcomed the approval of the resolution.
Based on the reports of the Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (Resu), dengue cases in Central Visayas posted a steep increase with 14,846 compared to last year’s 6,420 cases.
There were 125 deaths from January 1 to September 24 this year, compared to 36 last year. Sixty-seven of the fatalities were from Cebu.
According to the Resu data, there were also at least five towns and cities included in the top 20 list of towns and cities in the region with the highest dengue cases from Jan. 1 to Sept. 24 this year.
However, Resu chief Rene Cimafranca cautioned Pastor on describing the increase in dengue cases in the province this year as an outbreak.
Cimafranca said that declaring an outbreak should have a basis which does not include the past figures of dengue cases.
“Kung magdeklarasiyon ta, naa man tay basis gyud. Dili man nato kwentadahun ang karaan nga figure. Kay kung apilon nato og kwenta, sauna lang unta nag-declare na ta pero naa tay criteria man gud (If we are going to declare that there is a dengue outbreak, we should have basis which does not include past figures),” Cimafranca said.
Cimafranca, however, said that he would still speak with Pastor on this matter for clarification.
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