Mosquitoes Hit Sulu

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The Malaria outbreak that claimed 137 lives affected the Badjao community in Siasi, Sulu and nearly wiped out six villages in the said town in February and March this year. During the outbreak, the DOH attended to at least 6,372 residents, distributed treated mosquito nets and sprayed households. Hundreds of malaria patients were also airlifted from Sulu to Zamboanga because of the limited provisions in poorly equipped hospitals in the area.

Although there were only 137 deaths reported officially, the DOH believed that there were more unrecorded victims as local residents immediately bury their dead for lack of a cemetery. Meanwhile, local health authorities in Cotabato said the situation was aggravated by the ignorance of the people. They claimed that superstitious beliefs of the Badjaos were the primary reasons for the rapid spread of malaria in the area.

At the height of the outbreak, the Office of the President declared Siasi as a calamity area and released P2 million for medical aid. Teams of epidemiologists, entomologists and malaria experts were dispatched by the DOH during the outbreak to augment and assist medical teams stationed at Siasi.

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