Healthbeat 2001 No. 4.jpgHealthbeat 2001 No. 4.jpg

The DOH launched its anti-dengue campaign billed as “Bottoms-Up” early in the year. Just like the previous dengue campaigns, it involves disposing of unused tin cans, bottles, and plastic containers that are capable of holding water and become breeding sites for dengue mosquitoes if left uncovered. (Manila Bulletin, Feb. 1)

Like the previous years, politicians jumped into the dengue bandwagon and started fogging, a very “showy” way of fighting off dengue mosquitoes, in areas that constitute their power block. It was in this regard that local officials earned the ire of health officials who chided them for riding on the anti-dengue campaign through a method that could earn them popular votes among their constitutuents. (PD Inquirer, July 20)

To further assist the public in accessing information on how to prevent the occurrence and spread of dengue, DOH officials installed dengue hotlines at its Health Emergency Management Service in Quezon City and at the San Lazaro Hospital in Manila. (Manila Bulletin, July 28)

As the Mayon volcano erupted middle this year, Albay local officials appealed for more tents and mosquito nets to prevent an outbreak of dengue in 29 evacuation centers crowded with 51,526 residents displaced by the disaster. (Philippine Star, July 29)

Around early August, the DOH encouraged barangay officials to spearhead community-wide entomological monitoring or detection and elimination of mosquito breeding sites in their respective areas to prevent the spread of dengue. (Daily Tribune, Aug. 7)

Meanwhile, Iloilo Representative Augusto Syjuco lambasted the Department’s program on dengue and dismissed it as a failure after it allegedly failed to curb the rising number of dengue cases and deaths. He said that if only the DOH started a massive education drive on dengue after the first case was reported, then the country would have less dengue cases and less casualties. (Kabayan, Aug. 17)

In an attempt to dig deeper into the dengue menace, the World Health Organization (WHO) linked dengue to the state of the Philippine economy saying that when people are faced with hard times, they tend to neglect water and sanitation issues to attend to more pressing needs like work and food. (PD Inquirer, Aug. 19)

By the end of August, WHO reported a list of countries in the Western Pacific that were the hardest hit by dengue. The Philippines, along with Cambodia, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, French Polynesia and Samoa, was among the list. (Today, Aug. 30)

On early September, the DOH warned of a possible repeat of another dengue epidemic that claimed 35,000 victims in 1998 if prevention and control measures are not sustained. (Today, Sept. 6)

Before September came to a close, the DOH warned anew against complacency in the country’s campaign against dengue fever, stressing that the rains that continue to pour sporadically could result to new cases. The DOH made the call even as cases all over the country continued to drop over the past few weeks. As of the 21st of September, 15,641 cases have been recorded nationwide. One hundred eighteen (118) of the said cases died. (PD Inquirer, Sept. 29)