COMBI pilot testing in Pampanga found effective against dengue

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COMBI is tested in San Fernando Pampanga Philippines.

“The Communication for Behavioural Impact (COMBI) approach is effective in addressing the dengue problem in San Fernando, Pampanga,” said Dr. Renalyn Tungkol, COMBI advocate, during the National Dengue Summit held at Heritage Hotel, Manila on 13 April 2012.

COMBI is a communication strategy introduced by the World Health Organization (WHO) for the elimination of leprosy, control of tuberculosis, lymphatic filariasis and other non-communicable diseases. This strategy uses a marketing communication approach aimed to encourage the community to adopt desirable behaviors towards the attainment of health goals.

The Department of Health (DOH) chose Barangay San Jose, San Fernando City, Pampanga as the pilot area for COMBI testing because it is a flooded community, has high population density, and has consistent high dengue cases since 2004.

According to Dr. Tungkol, “When COMBI is introduced in this community, dengue cases dramatically decrease to up to 76 percent.”

Dr. Tungkol reported that aside from the reduction of cases, the perception of the community about dengue, mode of transmission, breeding sites and prevention measures was increased. “Regular repetition of COMBI message via periodic campaign is necessary to keep the flame alive in a target community. Likewise, the local government units (LGUs), particularly the barangay officials, have a very important role in the success of COMBI,” said Dr. Tungkol.

COMBI is a multi-faceted anti-dengue approach that motivates every member of the society to take action. “This approach has demonstrated that proper problem identification, community involvement and strong political will make the goal of reducing dengue cases very attainable,” stressed Dr. Tungkol.

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