Communities must be involved if the dengue scourge is to be defeated. This, health officials from South East Asia agree, is the biggest factor in fighting the vector-borne disease that continues to plague the region. 

The Philippines is part of the ASEAN Dengue Day Observation, where member-states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations have committed to reducing the dengue burden. Dengue Day is commemorated every June 15 and is now on its 7th year.

In particular, the Department of Health (DOH) will be more aggressive in its campaign to encourage the implementation of it 4S approach in fighting dengue.

The 4S approach includes Search and destroy breeding grounds, Seek early consultation, use of Self-protection, and Saying no to indiscriminate fogging.

It is the DOH’s most significant preventive campaign in communities against mosquito-transmitted diseases, which includes Zika and chikungunya.

“The first step to prevent dengue is within our homes. It is important to instill cleanliness in our surroundings and empty containers with stagnant waters to eliminate the breeding places of mosquitoes,” Secretary of Health Paulyn Ubial said.

The DOH called for the reactivation of the 4 o’clock habit where residents actively look for breeding sites to destroy them every afternoon at 4 PM. The agency noted compliance could be better enhanced if there are ordinances, so local government support is crucial in this regard.

Under the Integrated Vector Management, mosquitoes are cultured and studied at the Regional Insectary in Bohol, while dengue virus studies are done in the Public Health for Dengue center.

Meanwhile, as part of its 4S campaign, the Health chief underscored early consultation if fever is persistent, which may be with or without rashes to avoid serious complications.

Many times, people are unaware they have been infected with dengue because other than febrile cases, there are no other symptoms. But prolonged fever should be considered a red flag and the patient must be seen to by a healthcare worker for early diagnosis and treatment.

Also, the department is preparing for the national roll-out of the Dengue NS1 Rapid Diagnostic Test and is training health workers in cooperation with the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine on its use.

“The operating guidelines for the use of Loop Mediated Isothermal Amplification (LAMP) technology to complement the dengue NS1 RDT is near finalization and will be applied at hospital level,” the agency announced.

Finally, the agency underscored that early case detection, diagnosis and correct fluid management is critical to keep the dengue morbidity and mortality from rising. The Philippines reported over 200,000 suspected dengue cases in 2016.

“Dengue prevention should start from us. Make 4S a habit so that together, we can fight and eliminate dengue-carrying mosquitoes and protect ourselves and loved ones against dengue.” Secretary Ubial said. MIMS

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