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DoH declares national dengue epidemic

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THE REP. Pedro Memorial Hospital in Guimbal, Iloilo, in this photo taken Aug. 1, is crowded with dengue-afflicted patients. — BW/EMME ROSE S. SANTIAGUDO

THE DEPARTMENT of Health (DoH) on Tuesday declared a national dengue epidemic, with patients reaching nearly 150,000 so far this year. “It is important that a national epidemic be declared… to identify where a localized response is needed and to enable the local government units to use their Quick Response Fund to address the epidemic situation,” Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III said in a press conference. A total of 146,062 dengue cases, including 622 deaths, were recorded from January to June 20 this year, up by 98% from the same period in 2018, according to Mr. Duque. The Western Visayas Region still had the most number of dengue cases with 23,330. The four others with the highest cases were: CALABARZON (Cavite-Laguna-Batangas-Rizal-Quezon) with 16,515; Zamboanga Peninsula, 12, 317; Northern Mindanao, 11, 455; and SOCCSKSARGEN (South Cotabato-Cotabato-Sultan Kudarat-Sarangani-General Santos City), 11,083. National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) Chairperson and Defense Secretary Delfin S. Lorenzana said he has released a memorandum circular calling on all NDRRMC-member departments to help in addressing the health issue. “I, as the chairman of the NDRRMC, issued a memorandum circular subject to enjoin all member agencies to… support the efforts of the DoH to stop this epidemic,” he said. Mr. Lorenzana also said there is no need to declare a national state of calamity since the mosquito-borne disease is not seriously affecting all areas. He noted that local governments have the discretion to declare a localized state of calamity. The briefing was also attended by Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña. — Gillian M. Cortez









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