The Department of Health said it will continue its cross border patrol operations in Negros Island to keep both provinces free of malaria.
Dr. Socrates Villamor, provincial team leader of DOH Negros Oriental, said the anti-malaria border patrol team conducted operations in the boundary of Mabinay, Negros Oriental, and Kabankalan in Occidental Negros this week.
The continuous monitoring aims to declare both provinces of Negros as malaria-free by 2015, Villamor said.
But he said the DOH will have to start from scratch and begin the five-year target countdown this year until 2017, after indigenous malaria cases were confirmed in Negros Oriental.
Villamor also said there were actually three, and not just two, positive cases of malaria, reported in 2011. The patients, all from far-flung sitios in Sta. Catalina town and had contracted the disease locally, were examined last July and provided medications, he added.
Malaria is a mosquito-borne disease that can turn deadly if not properly diagnosed and treated. Villamor said he was saddened by the resurgence of local malaria cases since this confirmed the presence of the mosquito vectors of diseases.
The country’s malaria program aims to reduce by at least 50 percent the incidence of transmission, morbidity and mortality in high incidence provinces. A report from the World Health Organization showed that malaria remains in 57 provinces in the Philippines, with 12 million population at risk.
Negros Oriental and Occidental are among the provinces under the Epidemic Risk Management Category, the report added.
As of the 2010 WHO report, the provinces of Iloilo, Capiz, Aklan, Guimaras, Bohol, Cebu, Western Samar, Eastern Samar, Northern Samar, Northern Leyte, Biliran, Camiguin and Surigao del Norte were categorized as malaria-free.*JFP
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