PB declares state of calamity over dengue

A week after it declared a dengue outbreak, the Cebu Provincial Board approved on Monday a resolution placing the entire province under a state of calamity.

Seventh district board member Christopher Baricuatro authored the measure following the report submitted by the Provincial Health Office (PHO) citing a rising number of dengue cases in the province from the months of January to October.

“Given the magnitude of its effect and the necessity to address and prevent further increase of dengue cases, it is imperative that the entire province will be placed under a state of calamity,” Baricuatro said during the regular session on Monday.

The PHO has recorded 5, 821 cases of dengue with 55 deaths in the entire province from January to October.

Last week, the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDDRMO) suggested to Capitol officials to make use of the declaration of a state of calamity to enable PHO to use the province’s quick response funds (QRF).

Baricuatro explained that after the declaration, the health office could utilize at least P1.5 million from QRF which will be used for cleanup drive against dengue in the whole province.

Baricuatro said P1.350 million of the said funds will be spent for the purchase of larvacide. Larvacide treatment destroys mosquito larvae before they can mature into adult mosquitoes. It also reduces adult mosquito population in nearby areas.

Part of the amount could be used for the campaign’s additional manpower for misting operations, Baricuatro said. Some P160, 000 will also be used for information posters and tarpaulins, he added.

Renan Cimafranca, head of the Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (RESU) of the Department of Health (DOH) 7, expressed support to the Capitol’s move and assured his department will help the province’s campaign against dengue.

However, Cimafranca said that the provincial board should lift the outbreak declaration should the cases start to drop.

Last Friday, Cimafranca met with PHO’s head on public health, Dr. Niño Ismael Pastor, to thresh out their differences in measuring the outbreak. DOH 7 uses the incidence rate while PHO adopts prevalence formula in measuring cases of dengue.

Though both health officials stood by their methodology, the meeting resulted in a joint-statement acknowledging the “abnormal rise” of dengue cases in Cebu, said Baricuatro.

“We cannot keep talking about definition. We agreed with DOH that the cases of dengue are rising and intervention is necessary,” Pastor said.

Meanwhile, Pastor clarified earlier reports that the province has spent P200 million for larvicide.

“I don’t know what happened na nahimo naman na P200 million ang P160,000 na para sa posters,” Pastor said.

He also reiterated that the core of Capitol’s program in fighting dengue is cleanliness.