As dengue cases continue to rise in the provinces and major cities in the country, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) intensifies its campaign against the deadly disease.
Aside from the nationwide distribution of ovicidal larvicidal (OL) mosquito traps, the DOST now partners with the Department of Education (DepEd) in the installation of mosquito traps in all classrooms in public and private schools.
During the press conference held at PAGASA, Diliman, Quezon City on 19 August 2011, Dr. Jun Araojo, Chief of the Health and Nutrition Division of DepEd said that “The DOST and DepEd partnership to stop dengue will start at the National Capital Region (NCR) where most of the dengue cases are reported. DepEd has already created a memorandum directing all NCR school division superintendents to distribute the OL mosquito traps in their respective division and assign students to monitor the traps.”
According to the Department of Health (DOH), there are about 45,333 dengue cases reported from January to August this year: 10,487 cases are reported in NCR; 7,566 in Central Luzon; 6,488 CALABARZON; 4,981 Ilocos Region; and 3,079 in Cagayan Valley. Most of the victims are children ages 1-10 years old.
DOST and DepEd will distribute 34,910 OL trap kits to 17,454 classrooms in elementary and secondary schools in Caloocan, Quezon City, Pasay, Valenzuela, Manila, Muntinlupa, and Pasig. The distribution will also be extended to schools in Ilocos Sur, Benguet, La Union, Pangasinan and other provinces identified as hotspots for dengue.
Meanwhile, Dr. Antonio Ligsay, Chief of the Research Development and Management Division of the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) said that the DOST is continuously looking for S&T-based solutions against dengue. “We are attacking the dengue in several points, from vector to treatment and even for diagnosis. We do not stop in the success of OL trap to fight the disease. We have asked several universities to extract the active ingredients of pepper (OL trap main ingredient) to increase the duration of action and make the OL trap last longer than the initial seven (7) days efficacy period.” said Dr. Ligsay.
Dr. Ligsay also lauded the ongoing studies on tawa-tawa (Euphorbia hirta) – a folkloric medicine suspected to help dengue patients increase platelets counts. “By the end of this year, we will be making a definite statement whether this indigenous plant is effective or not.” He also said that other plants such as kamote (Ipomea batatas), bawang (Allium sativum), papaya (Carica Papaya), tanglad (Cymbopogon citrates), luyang dilaw (Curcuma longa), ampalaya (Momordica charantia) and oregano (Coleus aromaticus Benth) reported to be effective for dengue are also now being assessed to verify these claims.
For diagnosis, DOST has ongoing studies which aim to develop a dengue diagnostic kit that can be used for field-based surveillance of dengue virus. “Through this technology, we can detect dengue, on its very first day and make corresponding treatment right away,” added Dr. Ligsay.
Aside from these ongoing efforts, DOST also reminded the public to be more aware and be part of the battle against dengue. Dr. Nuna Almanzor, Director of the Industrial Technology Development Institute (ITDI) of DOST said that, “We can make our own way of contributing to this efforts by not allowing mosquitoes to breed on our surroundings. Let us make our surroundings clean and free of stagnant waters – the favorite breeding sites of mosquitoes.”
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