DOH conducts immediate ‘Blood Smear Testing’ in Palawan

The Department of Health (DOH) – MIMAROPA (Oriental/Occidental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan) today together with the Palawan Provincial Health Office and the local health officials of Brooke’s Point, Palawan conducted its anti-malaria activities among indigenous communities at Sitio Cabangaan, Barangay Imulnod, Brooke’s Point, Palawan due to the recent increase of malaria cases in the municipality as it celebrates Malaria Awareness Day on November 29, 2016.

“Malaria must be diagnosed and treated promptly to keep the illness from progressing and prevent further spread of infection in the community. The regional office continues its massive malaria prevention and control such as the continuing misting/spraying complemented with indoor residual spraying and clearing operations in endemic areas in cooperation with LGUs to significantly reduce the spread of cases,” Regional Director Eduardo C. Janairo stated.

“I urge everyone, especially those in endemic malaria areas, to submit themselves for blood test in order to confirm their status and provide timely care and treatment. Malaria is everyone responsibility and the cooperation of every member of the community is vital in the elimination efforts,” he added.

Anti-malaria activities during the one-day event includes blood smear test, RDT (Rapid Diagnostic Test) and ICT (Immunochromatographic Test for Filariasis) and deworming to IP communities to prevent the increasing number of cases in the province. Long lasting insecticide nets were also given to 1000 families. Children were provided with Garantisadong Pambata T-Shirts and hygiene kits were given to every head of the family.

According to the DOH-MIMAROPA Regional Epidemiological Unit (RESU), from January 1 – October 31, 2016, malaria cases in Brooke’s Point 17% higher compared to the same period last year with 1,275 and 1,092 cases from last year.

Among the top five barangays with the highest number of cases is Imulnod with 386; Mainit with 153; Aribungos – 139; Amas – 132; and Salogon with 99.

In Palawan, a total of 5,068 confirmed cases were recorded from January 1 – October 30, 2016. Among the top five municipalities with malaria burden cases are Rizal, Brooke’s Point, Bataraza, Balabac and Quezon.

Malaria is the 9th leading cause of death in the country. It is a disease caused by parasite called plasmodium which is transmitted by an anopheles’ mosquito which thrives in rural and hard-to-reach areas such as in hills, mountains and coastal areas. Malaria transmission is perennial and usually higher during the rainy season.

High risk groups include upland farmers, forest workers, indigenous people and settlers in mountainous areas, such as migrant agricultural workers; and children below five years old and women.

The increase in malaria cases are due the insufficient knowledge about the disease, shortage of Random Drug Tests, itinerant habits of the IPs and wrong beliefs and customs about the disease and poverty.

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