PB declares dengue outbreak, urges massive clean-up

The Cebu Provincial Board (PB) declared a province-wide dengue outbreak to address the rising occurrence of the mosquito-borne tropical disease in the province.

During its regular session on Monday, 7th district board member Christopher Baricuatro, principal author of the resolution, urged all local government units to intensify their campaign on dengue prevention and control by encouraging public participation on massive clean-up drives in areas identified as breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

Baricuatro, the chairman of the committee on public health and social services, explained that the purpose of the declaration is to raise public awareness on the increasing dengue cases in the province.

Provincial Health Office (PHO) head Dr. Rene Catan said that in every three to four years, cases of dengue tend to increase up to a certain point.

“The 2014 to 2016 records show that there has been a rapid rise of dengue cases with 2016 at its peak. As of today there were 5,700 of recorded cases,” Catan said during the PB session yesterday.

PHO recorded 5,505 dengue cases and 50 deaths for the whole province from January to early September this year.

No state of calamity

In a separate interview, Gov. Hilario P. Davide III told reporters he has no intention of pushing for a declaration of state of calamity following the pronouncement of the outbreak by the PHO and later by the PB.

“Our purpose why we want to declare an outbreak is just to inform the public and warn them that we need to clean our surroundings,” said Davide.

Last week, a request letter was sent by Catan to the governor for him to declare a dengue outbreak in the province.  Davide, however, said the letter did not include a recommendation for a declaration of a state of calamity.

Dunay basis gyud kay daghan namang cases. We want to raise public awareness so we could avoid deaths,” he said.

During its meeting last week, the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) approved the move to classify dengue as a calamity, allowing the PHO to utilize calamity funds once the province proceeds with the declaration.

However, Davide assured that PHO has sufficient funds to address the problem.

Renan Cimafranca, head of the Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit of the Department of Health (RESU-DOH) 7, earlier said that the move declaring dengue as an outbreak is unfair.

He said there are other local government units which have no dengue cases in their area.

Davide explained that the move will serve as a caution to all considering the abnormal rise of dengue-related cases.

“The declaration only serves as a warning to all na manglimpyo ta,” he said.

DOH and PHO officials, however, agreed that the best way to fight dengue is to destroy mosquitoes’ breeding sites.

Last month, Davide formed task force “Kontra Lamok” to lead a massive clean-up drive, beefing up PHO’s misting operations in dengue-prone areas. (Kelvin Canizares)