Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Barangay officials are our best line of defense vs. Zika virus

The Department of Health should tap and mobilize barangay officials in the effort to ward of the threat of Zika virus, which the World Health Organization declared on Monday (Feb. 1) a global public health emergency, Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" R. Marcos, Jr. said.

Medical evidence ties Zika virus to the cause of a birth defect called microcephaly, in which babies are born with undersized heads and brains, as well as to Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), a neurologic condition marked by rapid muscle weakness.

"As doctors and scientists rush research to understand the virus better, the prudent thing to do is to step up preventive measures against the spread of the virus in our country," said Marcos.

"Our barangay officials constitute our best line of defense against this threat. If we can secure their cooperation and commitment preventive actions can be implemented properly down to the grassroots level," he added.

Marcos, chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Government, noted that barangay officials are the ones who know best the situation in their area and directly in touch with the people who need to be informed of the seriousness of the Zika virus threat.

Currently, there is no vaccine or cure for Zika virus infection. The only way to avoid catching it is to avoid getting bitten by the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that transmit the infection--the same type of mosquitoes that transmit dengue.

"While we still don't know much about Zika, the fact that it is known to be carried by the same mosquito that transmits dengue means we can prevent it by the same methods we use for dengue prevention. We just have to redouble our efforts at it," Marcos said.

The senator said barangay officials would be specially effective in leading residents on "search and destroy" efforts to rid their surroundings of pockets of stagnant, clear waters, which are known breeding place of dengue-carrying mosquitoes.

Likewise, Marcos they can help identify sites for selective fogging and assist in the information campaign to encourage self-protection and seek early consultation upon suspicion of possible infection.

"We must act together in warding off this serious health threat. With the cooperation of our barangay officials I am confident that we can not only safeguard the well-being of our people and look forward to a brighter, more progressive future for everyone," said Marcos.  (Senate)

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