DAVAO CITY – The Department of Health XI (DOH) said that they are targeting to eliminate malaria in the region after a decrease in the number of cases has been recorded last year.

Malaria is a parasite-caused disease that is usually acquired through the bite of a female Anopheles mosquito.

“We used to talk about malaria control. Control meaning bring it down to a level where it is not a major issue; it’s not the talk of the town, it’s not the buzz. Now we’re beginning to talk about malaria elimination,” Health Undersecretary Vicente Belisario, Jr. said.

From 5,860 confirmed cases in 2001, 67 malaria cases were posted last year.

DOH Regional Director Abdullah Dumama, Jr. said that they have been assessing the Local Government Units (LGUs) and providing them technical assistance and trainings on how to control the disease.

“Hindi na po natin tinitingnan ngayon  on how to prevent it. Gusto natin yung control n a talaga, eliminate it (We are not just looking at how to prevent it. We want to control it, to eliminate it),” Dumama said.

The primary intervention undertaken by the DOH to bring down the number of cases in the region is the vector control wherein they will provide and distribute insecticidal nets.

“We also do the surveillance, for example if there are cases that are being reported especially from our LGUs, and then there is a timely detection and response,” Dr. Hansel Amoguis said.

Belisario added that 10 to 15 years ago, malaria was on the top ten causes of morbidity in the Philippines. But for this year, the country is doing well in controlling the cases of malaria.

“Sa mga panahon na ito, wala  na po ang malaria sa top ten. Hindi na rin po uso ang may na mamatay. Pero may manaka-naka, paisa-isa (This time, malaria is no longer on top ten. It is also unusual to have deaths. But there are still few),” he said.

In Davao Region, 16 municipalities were declared malaria-free last year.

For this year, DOH is allocating 9 million for the malaria control project in the region.(davaotoday.com)

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