Malaria cases high again in Palawan this year

Palawan News - - COMMUNITY - By Aira Ge­nesa Mag­dayao Re­porter

Malaria cases in Palawan reached 4,162 from Jan­uary to Novem­ber 16 this year, records of the De­part­ment of Health (DOH) MI­MAROPA Re­gion show. This is higher than the 3,824 cases recorded last year dur­ing the same pe­riod. Mario Baquilod, DOH OIC re­gional di­rec­tor, said Thurs­day at the press con­fer­ence of the 1st Re­gional and 10th Palawan Malaria Congress that de­spite the hike, they are op­ti­mistic that the re­gion will be de­clared “malaria-free by 2023.” He said that al­though their records also showed a sig­nif­i­cant de­crease in the num­ber of cases of the mos­quito-borne dis­ease from 2015 to 2017, there has also been a resur­gence this year. “Tin­gin na­man namin ay mami-meet ang tar­get na mag­ing malaria-free ang prov­ince de­spite nga na mahi­rap pun­ta­han ang mga kabun­dukan kahit may mga vol­un­teers pa tayo. Tinit­ing­nan din kasi namin ang mga strate­gies na gi­na­gawa sa mga prov­inces na nag­ing malaria-free ay same lang, kaya hope­ful tayo na magig­ing free tayo,” Baquilod said. The top five mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties in Palawan with the high­est num­ber of malaria cases are Rizal-2,718; Bataraza-374; Bal­abac-329; Que­zon-219, and Brooke’s Point-217 — all in the south­ern area. Since 2012, Romblon, Marinduque, and Ori­en­tal Min­doro reg­is­tered no malaria cases. DOH as­sis­tant sec­re­tary Maria Fran­cia Laxa­m­ana said the indige­nous peo­ples (IP) in the prov­ince have been the most vul­ner­a­ble sec­tor in the past years, record­ing the high­est num­ber of malaria cases in the MI­MAROPA. Laxa­m­ana said Palawan con­trib­utes around 90 per­cent of the coun- try’s to­tal num­ber of malaria cases. “Ang tribo sa Palawan ay marami, ngayon kung iisipin natin ang kaso ay hindi na sa ka­p­ata­gan kundi sa kabun­dukan kung saan doon sila makikita. Dagdag pa sila ay pali­pat-li­pat kaya mas ma­bilis lu­mi­pat ang par­a­site dahil mula dito sal lu­gar nila, lili­pat na­man doon sa ka­bila, so ganoon,” she said. Aileen Balde­rian, pro­vin­cial malaria co­or­di­na­tor said they con­sid­ered the high cases of malaria as pos­i­tive be­cause they are able to cure all the pa­tient. “Kami dito, tinit­ig­nan na­man as pos­i­tive ang mataas na kaso natin sa malaria kasi mas nalala­man natin kung sino ang gaga­mutin. Hindi kat­u­lad dati na kaunti lang and yet marami pala talaga. So mas ma­ganda para sa atin ‘yon at least iden­ti­fied natin kung sino sa kanila,” Balde­rian said. Malaria is a par­a­site-caused dis­ease usu­ally ac­quired through the bite of the Anophe­les mos­quito, but can also be trans­ferred through the blood trans­fu­sion from an in­fected per­son, shar­ing of in­tra­venous (IV) nee­dles, and transpla­cen­tal (trans­fer of par­a­sites from an in­fected mother to her un­born child). The DOH of­fi­cials said to com­bat malaria, pre­ven­tive mea­sures should be im­ple­mented such as stream-clear­ing, us­ing of in­sect re­pel­lant, use of in­sec­ti­cide-treated nets, and wear­ing of long sleeves and pants, and in­door resid­ual spray­ing. The first-ever re­gional congress that was held with the 10th Malaria Congress in Palawan was a col­lab­o­ra­tion among the DOH, the city and pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ments, World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion (WHO), and the Pilip­inas Shell Foun­da­tion, Inc. (PSFI).

(Photo cour­tesy of KLM/PHO)

Com­mu­nity work­ers of the Kilu­san Lig­tas Malaria (KLM) visit an up­land indige­nous com­mu­nity in south­ern Palawan to con­duct in­for­ma­tion cam­paign and blood smear­ing for malaria par­a­site ac­tiv­i­ties.

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