DAVAO CITY, May 07 (PIA) – The Department of Health recently honored the country’s champions in the anti-malaria crusade, for bringing down cases and mortality rate of the vector-borne disease.
DOH recognized 55 malaria field health workers from across the country who for decades have put dedication and hard work in fighting malaria in affected communities.
“We attribute the success of the country’s anti-malaria program to the commitment, dedication and hard work of our health workers and partners,” DOH Undersecretary Vicente Belizario, Jr. stated during the first-ever held awarding rites dubbed as DOH Gawad Pagkilala Para sa Natatanging Malaria Workers.
“We thank the awardees for bringing the country closer to becoming malaria free,” Belizario said.
Malaria field health workers Arlene Codera of Davao del Sur, Johnny Duazo of Compostela Valley, Pedro Lagunda of Davao del Norte and Restie Teodoro of Davao Oriental were among the awardees from Regions 1 to ARMM, who were given recognition for their valuable contribution in combating malaria in their respective areas.
Dr. Mario S. Baquilod, manager of DOH-National Center for Disease Prevention and Control (DOH-NCDPC), said a continuous decline of mortality due to malaria has been noted from 2003 to 2014.
He said there was 90 percent decrease in malaria cases and 96% reduction in deaths.
“Cases continued to decline in 2014 with less than 5,000 cases and 8 deaths nationwide,” Baquilod reported during the awarding ceremonies recently held in the city.
The DOH official was confident that the country could meet its commitments to the Millennium Development Goal of reversing the incidence of malaria starting 2015.
Baquilod bared 28 provinces have already been declared malaria free as of last year, adding that Quirino
Province of Region 2 is awaiting declaration this year, while 26 provinces are in the elimination phase.
In Davao Region, Davao Oriental is expected to be pronounced malaria free in 2016, Compostela Valley in 2017 and Davao del Sur in 2019.
Baquilod said DOH is focusing its interventions such as early diagnostic and treatment to 47 municipalities in 13 provinces to become zero malaria cases.
Other malaria control interventions are the use of insecticide-treated mosquito nets and indoor residual spraying, and intensified health information and education campaigns for better monitoring.
According to DOH, malaria is a parasite-caused disease that is usually acquired through the bite of a female Anopheles mosquito.
It can be transmitted through blood transfusion from an infected individual; sharing of IV needles; and transplacenta or the transfer of malaria parasites from an infected mother to its unborn child.
Malaria is the 9th leading cause of morbidity in the country, DOH said. (PIA-11/Carina L. Cayon)