State of calamity declared on surge of new dengue cases
posted 25-Sep-2019  ·  
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ELEVEN POLICE OFFICERS. who are licensed nurses have been deployed by the Catanduanes provincial police office to handle dengue cases at the crowded Eastern Bicol Medical Center following the recent spike in dengue patients. The de-ployment of the police nurses, who are being supervised by EBMC nursing personnel, came after talks between the Provin-cial Health Office, the provincial government and the Catanduanes police.

Catanduanes is now under a state of calamity due to after dengue cases surged at the Eastern Bicol Medical Center (EBMC) and six district hospitals in a four-day period beginning Aug. 27, 2019.

Acting Vice Governor Lorenzo Templonuevo Jr. and the members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan passed the resolution declaring the state of calamity during a special session held last Thursday, Sept. 5, after receiving the resolution of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council headed by Acting Governor Shirley Abundo.

In an emergency meeting of the PDRRMC at the Twin Rock Beach Resort in Igang, Virac on Sept. 4, the council members approved the recommendation of Provincial Health Officer II Dr. Hazel Palmes that the province be placed under a state of calamity due to increasing dengue cases in order to sustain interventions both for the case management and vector control.

Palmes stated that from Aug. 27 to 30, a surge of dengue cases was observed in the government hospitals, prompting the PHO to raise the dengue alert to Code Blue for the mobilization of resources.

During that four-day period, there were an average of 128 dengue cases at the seven public health facilities, which when combined with the other health cases, easily swamped each hospital’s bed capacity.

At EBMC, overcrowding at the main wards forced the management to utilize its conference room as a dengue ward. Three nurses from the Bato Maternity and Children’s Hospital (BMCH) were deployed to EBMC to augment its personnel while 11 Catanduanes police officers who are licensed nurses were also sent to EBMC and the Juan M. Alberto Memorial District Hospital (JMAMDH).

As of Aug. 30, 2019, the total number of dengue cases in Catanduanes for the current year has reached 1,928, or 1,669 percent higher than the mere 109 cases recorded in 2018.

Nine out of the 11 towns have clustering of cases, Dr. Palmes bared, while 69 out of the 315 barangays have the same clustering: Virac (21), San Andres (7), Pandan (9), Viga (8), Bato (6), Caramoran (5), Bagamanoc (1), San Miguel (1) and Gigmoto (1).

She added that entomological studies were conducted in barangays Carangag, Comagaycay, Tominawog, Sapang Palay, Mayngaway, Codon and Datag, all in San Andres town, as well as in District 1 in San Miguel, and Mabini and Sta. Ana in Panganiban, where clustering of cases were noted.

The results showed that all of them except for Sta. Ana had high sensitivity to dengue, with all larvae indices indicative of high risk for dengue transmission, the PHO chief reported.

In the past weeks, the PHO has intensified disease and vector surveillance, heightened the Dengue Alert System, continued the province-wide monitoring on the implementation of Dengue 4-S,  mobilized its resources and conducted environmental management.

Aside from requesting the deployment of health human resources from the Department of Health (DOH), the PHO also asked the Catanduanes police to assign officers who are nurses by profession to EBMC and JMAMDH. It provided logistics to hospitals and rural health units and technical assistance to disease surveillance officers.

RHUs, on the other hand, took the lead in implementing 4-S and reactivation of the Dengue Task Force, assigning a point person to oversee the search and destruction of mosquito breeding places, along with dialogues with barangay officials.

In the report, the PHO concluded that inadequate vector control is evidenced by huge population of vectors that have the potential to spread the virus, which would need additional measures like biological control as environmental management and chemical control may be inadequate.

It noted that due to the influx of dengue cases to hospitals, there is depletion of financial and human resources, along with overcrowding and congestion, Palmes said.

“The current manpower is no longer responsive to the needs of patients, thus affecting the quality of care to patients and quality of life of personnel and consequently to the health outcome,” she stressed.

The report also blamed the failure to reduce mosquito population to the insufficient involvement of the community despite the passage of ordinances and executive orders.

“Rigorous and sustainable intervention must be put in place in the communities,” Palmes urged, adding that proper and sufficient resources should be consistently allocated to carry out the anti-dengue measures.

One health official told the Tribune that most barangays as well as public schools are not complying with the SP resolution and executive order calling on them to participate in a regular clean-up drive.

In a stakeholders’ forum held by the PHO at the Catanduanes State University auditorium, Acting Gov. Abundo disclosed that the provincial government has set aside P5.5 million from the 5% Calamity Fund for use in the anti-dengue campaign.

“Pero, I have to be very clear with the council and ‘yung SK na yung pera na gagamitin would be used only for dengue cases. Wala pong ibang pagagamitin ‘yan,” she warned barangay officials who were present..

She also urged the public to support the government’s drive to purge dengue from the island, noting that there were problems convincing people to participate.

“May mga resistance din kasi minsan from the community itself. So kailangan pong iintindi kung gaano kalala yung sitwasyon ukol sa dengue. And that would really start from your own barangays,” she explained.

Provincial Board Member (PBM) Allan del Valle, on the other hand, claimed that the SP “failed to listen” to him after he earlier urged the board to declare the state of calamity last month.

He bared that the SP’s approval of the resolution declaring the state of calamity during its regular session last Sept. 2 was held in abeyance until Thursday last week in the absence of a signed resolution from the PDRRMC.

He also urged the government to set aside funds based on necessity rather than the fixed amount of P5.5 million.

In addition, the public voted on solutions proposed by barangay captains, such as obligating or encouraging 4Ps dependents to clean in their respective barangays weekly.

            -rainfall data + mosquito incubation + relevant quote-

            The multisectoral/stakeholders consultative meeting was held at the Catanduanes States University Auditorium.

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