DAVAO CITY – The Department of Health 11 has officially declared the province of Davao Oriental as the first province in the region to be malaria-free.
Based on a disease-free assessment criteria set by the National Malaria Control and Elimination Program, Davao Oriental has achieved zero cases of malaria for five consecutive years, which became the major basis for the recognition.
During the ceremony held Thursday here DOH XI Regional Director Dr. Abdullah B. Dumama, Jr., lauded Davao Oriental for getting the said recognition.
In a statement to the press, Provincial Health Officer I, Dr. Joy Sanico also said there were several strategies adopted by the Provincial Health Office in fighting malaria, including “early detection and prompt treatment, case surveillance, capability-building among municipal health workers, and increasing public awareness through extensive information, education, and communication campaign.”
Sanico highlighted the distribution of treated mosquito nets and eliminating nesting grounds of mosquitoes as effective ways of preventing the spreading of malaria disease.
“In the prevention of diseases, our actions should not be passive, they should be active,” said Sanico.
She said other basis in achieving a malaria-free status include a functional laboratory, stocks of insecticides, equipment and other supplies needed in times of outbreak.
Sanico said that eliminating the malaria burden is an impressive achievement “but the great challenge now lies in the sustainability of the program in the communities.”
Meanwhile, other municipalities in Davao Oriental that also received recognition as malaria-free include Caraga, Cateel, Governor Generoso, Tarragona, and the City of Mati. The towns of Baganga, Banaybanay, Boston, Lupon, Manay, and San Isidro have maintained their malaria-free status. (davaotoday.com)