DOH unveils Aksyon Barangay kontra dengue as Luzon braces for surge

An August 25, 2011 press release by the Department of Health

The Department of Health (DOH) and its partner departments today launched its latest campaign against dengue, “Aksyon Barangay Kontra Dengue” (or ABaKaDa), in an effort to stir up community action that will be sustainable, target-driven, and that can be adopted by LGUs with perennial threats of a dengue epidemic.

ABaKaDa seeks to reinforce the country’s drive against dengue by going back to the basics of comprehensive vector control supported by environmental manipulation and modification. The program calls for regular weekly clean-up drives spearheaded by the barangay leaders and includes the active participation of community volunteers, civil society and others in government. The DOH and its partners shall also launch a tri-media campaign to generate public support for ABaKaDa.

“Combating dengue requires everyone’s cooperation. We need to do our part in fighting this threat,” said Health Secretary Enrique T. Ona. Lessons from past dengue epidemics showed that communities determine the dengue burden depending on their seriousness and commitment to source reduction or elimination of mosquito breeding sites, the first line of defense to prevent and control dengue.

Specifically, the campaign urges families, barangay leaders and youth councils (Sangguniang Kabataan) to organize community clean-up drives and to aggressively seek and clean out possible mosquito breeding sites every week especially in areas that continue to experience clustering of dengue cases. This is expected to be carried out at least until October this year when cases are also expected to significantly fall.

School authorities are also urged to implement search and destroy actions at the school premises at least every week before classes break on a weekend. Other stakeholders, such as owners or managers of business establishments/malls and construction sites, are also strongly encouraged to initiate and sustain their own clean-up activities in their areas.

“We are reiterating the four things for everyone to do every day:  Search and destroy mosquito breeding sites, Self-protection by wearing long-sleeved shirts, Seek early advise/consultation at the nearest health center, and Say YES to fogging only when there is an impending outbreak (hotspots),” Ona said.

Ona explained that Searching and destroying breeding sites include covering all water containers, regularly changing water in flower vases, de-clogging of roof gutters, and filling up with soil all stagnant surface water in vacant lots in villages or housing areas or used tires found in roofs and in vulcanizing shops.

Self-protection means wearing long sleeved shirts and long pants, and using mosquito repellants whenever practical. Seek early consultation at the nearest health center when there is suspicion of dengue and immediate visit to a hospital when there are dangers signs like nose bleeding, restlessness, persistent vomiting or rapidly decreasing platelet count and, Say YES to fogging when there is an impending outbreak (in potential hotspots) as evaluated by the health officers, explained the health chief.

Meanwhile, the latest DOH Dengue Registry revealed that dengue cases nationwide have gone down by 24.35 percent, at 56,005 cases from January to August 20, 2011 compared to 74,028 cases during the same period last year.

At the National Capital Region, most cases are from Quezon City (3,922 cases), Kalookan City (1,558), and Manila (1,340).

Most reported cases belonged to the 1 to 10 years age group (39.5%). Majority of the cases reported were male. Three hundred twenty (321) deaths have been reported from January to August 20, 2011 for a case fatality rate of 0.57 percent.

Secretary Ona also reiterated that public hospitals and DOH medical centers are capable of treating the rising number of Dengue cases and have installed dengue fast lanes to prevent overcrowding. “The best way to fight Dengue is to prevent it and all of us must do our part,” Ona concluded.