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PRC is taking a 3-point approach to combat dengue – Gordon

The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) has a three-point strategy to fight dengue which, Senator Richard J. Gordon said, they are treating as a national emergency after the Department of Health declared a national alert after noting an 86% percent increase in the number of dengue cases recorded from January to July.

First, Gordon said, the PRC provides adequate safe and quality blood, already sending 165 bags to five hospitals in Iloilo and four in Capiz. The blood is free for dengue-stricken individuals who cannot afford it.

He added the second is to provide air-conditioned emergency medical tents to relieve hospitals that are overflowing with dengue patients. The tents were deployed to Iloilo, Capiz, and Aklan. The PRC has done this before, the latest of which was during the measles epidemic earlier this year.

The PRC chairman said the third approach is to involve the community with PRC chapters mobilizing Red Cross 143 volunteers to track down dengue and conduct clean-up efforts within a 400- meter radius where they are discovered.

“The Red Cross is treating it as a national emergency because one dead is already one dead too many. The dengue season has just started at dadami pa ‘yan kaya we are taking it very seriously,” Gordon said.

CLEAN UP CAMPAIGNS TO DESTROY BREEDING SITES OF DENGUE-CARRYING MOSQUITOES

More than just providing interventions for the thousands of people who are sick with dengue in the wake of the Department of Health’s recent declaration of a national alert on the disease, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC), headed by Senator Richard J. Gordon, is set to launch a clean-up campaign to stem the further spread of dengue from its source.

This after Gordon, PRC chairman, sent a memorandum directing all PRC chapters nationwide to organize Red Cross 143 groups on the ground to conduct clean-up campaigns to destroy breeding sites or stagnant clean water that can be found in places where these may go unnoticed such as canals, flower vases and other plants, old tires, construction debris, uncollected garbage, and gutters, among others.

“This is a continuation of our efforts against dengue. The PRC has provided tents to decongest hospitals that are overflowinng with patients and blood products have also been deployed to areas in need. But the DOH’s recent declaration of a national alert and the activation of the NDRRC last Wednesday warrant increased vigilance in response to the increasing number of those who have fallen ill,” he said.

The DOH has recorded 115,986 dengue cases from January-July 2019, which is 86% higher than the same time last year. Gordon explained that to prevent the further spread of the disease, the community should work together to destroy the breeding sites of the aedes egypti mosquitoes, which is the vector for dengue.

“Chapters are hereby directed to submit their clean-up plans with identification of areas for priority community clean-up. Places for clean-up can be prioritized by tracing where hospitalized patients reside, as the vector mosquitoes may still be alive and actively reproducing. Unlike other infectious diseases that are spread by humans, control of the spread of dengue and prevention of the disease can be achieved by destroying the larvae of the mosquitos.,” he said.

The aedes egypti mosquito has a life span of two weeks and usually only flies within a 400 meter radius. It is the female mosquito, a daytime biter, which spreads the disease. Typically a female mosquito that carries the dengue virus will hover around a house within its two week lifespan, hence the spread of dengue is highly localized.

Gordon advised that the larva of themosquitoes, when collected, should not be thrown into an open space as these may still survive. Larva may be killed by pouring salt, vinegar or oil on them.

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