Dengue is a dreadful disease and considered as one of the fastest-emerging infections in the world. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), it causes nearly 50 million infections every year worldwide.
The disease is generally found in the tropical and subtropical areas. This explains why Asia Pacific bears 75% of the current global dengue disease burden (WHO).
As a response, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) collaborated and agreed to make a unified effort against the dreadful disease. One of the ASEAN strategies is to increase public awareness through celebration of ASEAN Dengue Day. The idea was affirmed during the 10th ASEAN Health Ministries Meeting held in Singapore on 22 July 2010 when 15th day of June was declared as ASEAN Dengue day.
The first ASEAN Dengue Day was celebrated on 15 June 2011 at the regional level in Jakarta, Indonesia, with simultaneous celebration held in all ASEAN-member countries.
In the Philippines, the celebration was headed by the Department of Health (DOH) in cooperation with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Education (DepED), Liga ng mga Barangay sa Pilipinas and the City Government of Caloocan. With the theme: “Eskwelahan, Simbahan, Barangay, Palengke, at Buong Komunidad, Sama-Sama Nating Sugpuin ang Dengue. Sa Sama-samang Pagkilos, Dengue ay Matetepok,” the celebration was held at the Gregoria De Jesus Elementary School, Poblacion District in Caloocan City.
During the ceremony, DOH Secretary Enrique Ona urged top government officials and leaders of the country’s public schools, churches, barangays and public markets to become advocates in the fight against the disease.
“Let us participate in the 4S advocacy,” said Dr. Ona. “The first S means Search and Destroy possible breeding places of dengue-causing mosquitoes. Second S is to employ self protective measures such as wearing long sleeves and pants or using mosquito repellant. Third, seek early consultation or see your doctor for immediate diagnosis or treatment of the disease. The last S is say no to indiscriminate fogging.”
Dr. Ona also encouraged the community to use the DOST OL mosquito trap, a low-cost yet effective device designed to reduce the population of the dengue-carrying “Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus” mosquitoes by attracting and killing their eggs in a simple but effective science-based system. During the caravan, Dr. Ona demonstrated the use of the device and showed the barangay officials where to place OL mosquito trap inside the house. The team also distributed OL mosquito traps in Barangay Bagong Barrio, Caloocan City.
Also in attendance was the Executive Director of the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) of DOST, Dr. Jaime Montoya, who updated the public on the status of the national rollout of the DOST Ovicidal/Larvicidal mosquito trap. “The DOST and DOH have already distributed OL mosquito traps to the high risk areas in the country, in cooperation with the DOH and DOST Regional Offices and local government units. We are very hopeful that with this simple technology plus the support and cooperation of the community, we can make science do great things for our country.”
He also emphasized the significance of information dissemination as key ingredient of success in dengue prevention and control. “It is really crucial for our people to know that they can do something to stop the spread of dengue. By making dengue everybody’s concern, we will surely be successful in our advocacy to combat this dreadful disease,” Dr. Montoya said. Edmon B. Agron, PCHRD