Cagayan Valley is Set to Fight Dengue

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The second leg of the national roll-out of the Ovicidal Larvicidal (OL) mosquito trap program of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the Department of Health (DOH) was held at the Kamaranan Hall, Provincial Capitol Tuguegarao City on 7 March 2011.

“This is the right time to center our attention to this innovative technology,” said Dr. Urdujah A. Tejada, Regional Director of DOST Region 2. “Given the fact that the dengue cases are increasing all over the country, the National Dengue Prevention and Control Section of DOH, advised that the best way to control this dengue-carrying Aedes mosquitoes is to kill them at the early stage of their lives or through larval source reduction strategies – which is basically the design of the OL mosquito trap,” added Dr. Tejada.

The OL mosquito trap is a tool used to reduce the population of the dengue-carrying “Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus” mosquitoes by attracting the female mosquito to lay eggs on an ordinary black-plastic or black-painted tin-can with ovicide/larvicide that kills the mosquito egg and larvae.

The provincial government of Cagayan responded positively and ensured its support to the program. “Health is our priority in Cagayan,” said Cagayan Provincial Administrator Engr. Tito Perlas, representative of Cagayan Governor Alvaro Antonio.

The DOH has recorded more than 6000 dengue cases with 57 deaths in the region in 2010. The cases increased to 169 percent compared to the cases recorded in 2009. “This caused panic among us, because Cagayan has the highest incidence of dengue among other provinces,” said Engr. Perlas. “That is why we are grateful to the people behind this innovative technology. This will be a big help to our local folks in fighting dengue,” Engr. Perlas concluded.

The OL mosquito traps were distributed to the high risks areas in the region last 8 March 2011 in cooperation with the DOST Region 2, DOH Region 2, Local Government Unit and the Zonta Club of Central Tuguegarao.

Private Sector’s Response

The Zonta Club Philippines, an international woman’s organization, vows support to the OL mosquito trap program of the government.

“We are committed to elevate the status of women and children in the communities. Part of this commitment is to protect them from dangerous diseases like dengue, that is why we vow to include this OL mosquito trap technology in our advocacies,” said Atty. Mila Lauigan, Zonta District Chair for Legislative Awareness and Advocacy. “We can also use our connections to promote this technology because we have members who are holding vital positions in the government and in private sector. They could be a big help to promote OL mosquito trap in their own organizations or group,” assured Atty. Lauigan in an interview.

The group also committed to promote the technology in their seminars and allocate budget to buy “pellets” (the ovicidal and larvicidal component of the system) to be distributed in the remote areas covered by their organization.

Academe to bring OL Traps to communities

The academe will dovetail dengue information awareness campaigns in its research and extension program and bring down to the barangay level the technology.

According to Ms. Edmelyn Cacayon, Dean of the College of Nursing, Isabela State University (ISU), “We have community immersion programs, where we adopt a barangay to help increase not only their awareness or knowledge on health but to improve their status of living as a whole.”

ISU adopted Brgy. Villa Fermin in Echague, Isabela and send their nursing students twice a week to conduct lectures and seminars in the community. “We let our students experience and see the real world of service because nurses are not meant for hospitals only but for community service as well,” said Ms. Cacayon.

Brgy. Villa Fermin is a dumpsite in Echague, Isabela. Among the prevailing health issues in the barangay are malnutrition, sanitation and improper waste disposal, making the community highly vulnerable to diseases.

Aside from lectures and seminars, ISU introduced strategies to address these health problems. For instance, the College of Nursing coordinated with the College of Agriculture to bring the technologies for vegetable farming/gardening to the community. ISU trained the community to produce vegetables in response to the nutrition issues. “The good thing is, we help them get nourished and at the same time, earn extra income from their harvest,” said Ms. Cacayon.

ISU also taught proper sanitation practices and proper waste disposal, and launched an anti-dengue awareness campaign reiterating that “cleanliness and proper sanitation” is the key to disease prevention and control in the community.

“With these simple things, we bring big impact to the community, because we as health professionals served not only those people who have money but, most importantly, those who are in the far flung communities that are usually neglected,” concluded Ms. Cacayon.

ISU Director for Health Services Dr. Pastor Lopez also said in an interview that ISU envisions to put-up station clinics in the barangays. “We don’t want to see children dying not only because of dengue but also with other diseases, without being checked by the professionals,” Dr. Lopez added. 

Aside from ISU, University of Cagayan Valley (UCV) formerly known as Cagayan Colleges Tugegarao (CCT), Quirino State College (QSC) and Nueva Viscaya State University (NVSU) will also align a dengue prevention information campaign through its National Service Training Program (NSTP). Under the NSTP’s Civic Welfare Training Service (CWTS), students participate in a community campaign against dengue called “Operation Tumba.” “Tumba” means to destroy all possible habitats for dengue mosquitoes.

Dr. Gregoria Gocal, Director for Community Extension and Services of UCV admitted in an interview, that they spray commercial insecticide every week in their classrooms to secure their students against mosquito bites. “We will definitely shift to this new OL mosquito trap system, not only because it is cheaper. The OL trap is easy to manage, harmless to human and, most importantly environment-friendly,” Dr. Gocal concluded.

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