World Malaria Day takes place on the 25th of April of each year. It is an internationally recognized day wherein global efforts to control Malaria are highlighted and achievements are celebrated. On April 21-22, the Malaria Control and Elimination Program or MCEP, celebrated the said day in Batang Baglas and Namat Masla of Palimbang, Sultan Kudarat Province. These barangays have the most Malaria cases in the region.
A lecture on Malaria prevention was conducted by the Provincial Health Education and Promotion Officer and representatives from all stakeholders were given a chance to speak.
Giveaways such as long-lasting insecticides were distributed during the activity
Treated nets were provided by Pilipinas Shell Foundation Inc., and Malaria rapid diagnostic tests were conducted by the Department of Health - Human Resources for Health - Rural Health Unit and RHU staff. Entertainment was also provided by the regional team, as well as by the Manobo participants wherein their cultural dances were featured.
It is the program’s hope and dream that activities such as the World Malaria Day celebration will further strengthen the advocacy and willpower of the people to achieve a Malaria Free Philippines by 2030.
Dengue Vector Surveillance Training
Dengue is the fastest spreading vector-borne disease in the world and endemic in 100 countries. Under the Dengue Prevention and Control Program (DPCP), Surveillance is the foremost component. This includes case, laboratory and vector surveillance activities. Vector surveillance is the most unique among the three.
Dengue Vector Surveillance (DVS) involves fieldwork (house inspections, larval collections), laboratory work (species identification under the microscope), data analysis (calculation of house, container index, etc.) and facility-to-community collaboration.
Since it has been observed that Dengue cases in the country peak every three (3) years, DVS has become a tool in identifying areas that are at the highest risk of Dengue or Dengue outbreak. It studies the prevalence of the Dengue mosquito vectors, Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus in a specific community and their preferred natural or man-made habitats. This will then help identify which intervention or vector control strategies to use that will best help the vulnerable community.
Despite the ongoing pandemic, the DPCP traveled to the different SOCCSKSARGEN provinces last March and May 2021 and extended on-site DVS coaching and mentoring.
The program aims to maintain people’s vigilance on Dengue in anticipation of its 3rd year endemoepidemic mark.
Pre-Transmission Assessment Survey for Lymphatic Filariasis.
Out of 81 provinces in the Philippines, 46 are Filaria endemic. As of 2020 reports, 43 of them have already reached their elimination target. The biggest intervention in eliminating the disease comes in the form of Mass Drug Administration (MDA). If an implementing unit or municipality has reached five (5) rounds of effective MDA, a PreTransmission Assessment Survey (Pre-TAS) is conducted in the area. Pre-TAS or Pre-Transmission Assessment Survey, is a necessary step before TAS or Transmission Assessment Survey is conducted. In Pre-TAS, the area being evaluated must fulfill a <1% Microfilaria antigenic rate. This is determined by performing blood tests using the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended, Filariasis Test Strip (FTS).
In SOCCSKSARGEN Region, Sultan Kudarat Province remains endemic. It is the hope of the National Filaria Elimination Program (NFEP) that the province follows the footsteps of North Cotabato, South Cotabato and Sarangani. All of which were declared Filariasis-free last 2011, 2013 and 2015, respectively.
To advance in this endeavor, the NFEP began the Pre-TAS in the province starting with Sen. Ninoy Aquino, Sultan Kudarat Province on April 13-16, 2021 and Bagumbayan, Sultan Kudarat Province on May 4-7, 2021. The program will continue until all the 9 municipalities have been covered. If the province passes the <1% Mf Ag rate criteria, it becomes eligible for TAS. The results of which will become a valuable decision-making tool for stopping MDA and monitoring transmission recrudescence. This will help Sultan Kudarat Province continue its post-MDA surveillance phase until declared as Filariasis-free.