Government agencies launch community-based approach to control dengue

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In an intensified campaign to fight dengue, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Department of Health (DOH), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Education (DepEd), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and the City Government of Quezon City joined hands to launch the “Aksyon Barangay Kontra Dengue” (ABaKaDa) at Barangay Bagbag, Quezon City on 25 August 2011.

ABaKaDa is a community-based approach to control dengue-carrying mosquitoes. It seeks to reinforce the country’s drive against dengue by going back to the basics of comprehensive vector control. The ABaKaDa will activate barangay leaders, community volunteers, civil society and other government agencies to conduct regular weekly clean-up drives in their respective areas, particularly on possible mosquito breeding sites.

Officials who graced the event include Secretary Mario Montejo of DOST, Secretary Enrique Ona of DOH, Secretary Jessie Robredo of DILG, Chairman Francis Tolentino of MMDA, Dr. Corazon Domlao of DepEd and Councilor Ranulfo Ludovica of Quezon City. Ceremonial signing of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) sealed the commitment of the concerned government agencies in the fight against dengue.

To reach out to the barangays, DOH pledged to provide technical assistance and information, education and communication materials, conduct training and orientation to all participating agencies, conduct regular surveillance and monitoring, and ensure all hospitals are prepared to handle dengue cases in the country.

Meanwhile, the DILG will push the local government units (LGUs) to pass ordinances for strict observance of cleanliness, direct the local chief executives (LCEs) to mobilize community volunteers and barangay dengue brigades to conduct house-to-house cleanliness campaign, and direct the LGUs to provide assistance for possible patients referred or admitted to the Rural Health Units (RHUs) and other hospitals.

Maintaining cleanliness in major thoroughfares in Metro Manila is the MMDA’s commitment. It will also direct Metro Manila mayors to organize community clean-up campaigns and improve the regular garbage collection schemes in their respective municipalities.

On the other hand, the DepEd will take the initiative to educate parents and children on the importance of proper sanitation and clean surroundings. It will also provide assistance in disseminating information on dengue prevention and control as well as take charge in observing proper cleanliness and sanitation in the school premises.

The DOST, for its part, will promote, assist and undertake scientific and technological research on dengue and pursue technology transfer which may improve the standards of dengue interventions or mitigate the impact of the disease.

Recently, DOST partnered with DepEd to boost its campaign against dengue through the distribution of ovicidal-larvicidal mosquito traps in Metro Manila schools. There were 9674 mosquito traps distributed in Quezon City schools, 4702 in Caloocan, 2384 in Valenzuela, 9440 in Manila, 4938 in Pasig, 1862 in Pasay and 1908 in Muntinlupa.

In an interview, Secretary Montejo said that the OL trap is very effective in schools for two reasons. “One is that mosquitoes bite in the morning and the most vulnerable victims are children in the school – during biting times. Second, OL trap in schools are easier to supervise.”

In addition, Health Secretary Enrique Ona said, “Despite these efforts of the government, the key to success lies with the community’s cooperation – their seriousness and commitment in the source reduction or elimination of mosquito breeding sites is the first line of defense in preventing and controlling dengue.” (Edmon B. Agron)

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