As preparation ahead of the possible rise in the cases of dreaded disease dengue during the forecasted early onset of the rainy season when the disease is known to be at its peak, the City Health Department (CHD), in coordination with the Division of City Schools-Valenzuela City, conceptualized a simultaneous clean up-drive in all public schools in the city dubbed as “Eskwelahang Malinis, Dengue Free ang Nais! Let’s make it a habit!”
Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) warned, Filipinos should brace for a wet 2011 as the country will begin to face the impact of the La Niña weather phenomenon as early as the first quarter of the year as showed by the indicators. This inspired the CHD to conceptualize a project that will target the school age children who are believed to be of higher risk on contacting dengue fever.
Despite the information campaigns and interventions being implemented by the CHD, and even if it is not yet the rainy season, it is very alarming that there are a few dengue cases reported in some areas of the City, specifically on the school-age group. “Dengue is a year-round peril and the school children have become the main victims of the disease. Aside from homes, we should look deeper on where they can get the disease, and the most possible place will be inside their schools,” City Health Department OIC Dr. Jaime Exconde said.
The activity was launched last March 15, with all the public elementary and high schools participating simultaneously. A program attended by CHD, DepEd and local barangay officials was held at Gen. T. de Leon National High School, which incidentally was hailed by DepEd Valenzuela as the City’s Cleanest School for the first semester of the school year 2010-2011.
The activity also involved a micro health education on dengue conducted by their respective Barangay Health Center physicians. The recognition of each school’s Little Dengue Brigade Officers was also a part of the activity.
Recognizing that the success of the activity will depend on the participation, not only of the schools, but of the community as well, DepEd-Valenzuela Schools Division Superintendent Dr. Flordeliza Mayari also involved the parents through the Parents, Teachers and Community Association (PTCA). “We hope to uphold the commitment of the schools, the students and the faculty members towards maintaining the school surroundings clean as a continuous health promotion activity. And we also want it to become a habit that would transcend beyond the perimeters of the schools to their homes and to their neighborhood even during the vacation period and when the classes reopens for the next school year,” she said.
Mr. Allan Dionida, Health Education and Promotion Officer from the CHD said that the activity is intended to be conducted weekly. “In this way, we can help lessen the future cases of dengue in the city since environmental sanitation and personal hygiene practices are among the key factors in the probability of acquiring dengue.”
The City Government advocates the self-attested 4S Strategy of the DOH:
1. Search and Destroy. It is important to keep the surroundings clean. Search for any stagnant water which could be the breeding ground for dengue-virus carrying mosquitoes.
2. Self Protection. Practice self safety precaution as it is never known when a Dengue carrying mosquito would attack. Use nets, mosquito sprays and repellent. If possible, use appropriate clothing enough to cover parts of the body which are susceptible to mosquito bites.
3. Seek Early Consultation. Dengue symptoms normally appear within two days after infection. This may include a sudden high fever, severe headaches, nausea and vomiting, achy eyes and joints pain. Commonly, three or four days upon the onset of fever, tiny red spots or rashes appears on the lower limbs and chest area of the body of an infected individual. Those who are suffering from two days of fever accompanied by flu-like symptoms are advised to seek immediate consultation.
4. Say NO to indiscriminate FOGGING. Chemical intervention through fogging is reserved in areas of great concern such as clustering of cases, in times of outbreak or impending outbreak, in hot spot areas.
The project is also implemented in cooperation with the Waste Management Office (WMO) which will pick up all garbage collected in the schools. WMO personnel are also active in the regular and timely collection of garbage around the City.
- Zyan Caiña