Pressing on with my advocacy against dengue

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By Susan Palmes-Dennis

Straight from Carolinas

Monday, August 4, 2014


I'M not yet done with my dengue advocacy.

Today, I have to relate the issue on dengue to the leaders we have elected to office or have appointed themselves to office.

No mention was ever made on health and its related issues during last month's State of the Nation Address of President Benigno Aquino III and I am dismayed. Health issues are much a concern as corruption.

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In my mind, dengue has remained unsolved for a long time now, allowing those dengue-carrying mosquitoes to multiply by leaps and bounds. There are issues in dengue that need to be settled by the authorities and our leaders. I think it is now beyond the power of the people to fight mosquitoes that have the upper hand for now.

The communities can only do cleaning following the 4 o' clock habit. So methinks that eradicating dengue is a mission for Congress, the Senate and the Palace. I am not saying that barangay (village) officials and mayors don't have to do anything. In fact they are the frontliners but most of the time, they are as inutile as the top leaders in government. The Department of Health (DOH) should create more stores and more blood banks that are open 24/7 for dengue patients. Getting blood is becoming a livelihood.

I wonder why? What happened to the supply of donated blood by students and civic clubs? I am talking about the donated blood that winds up at blood banks for which you pay quite an amount for your dengue afflicted loved ones. The government should shoulder the expenses of dengue patients regardless of religious or political beliefs until a vaccine is created to cure the patients of the disease.

Government doctors should also be on call for the dengue patients especially for those who can ill afford to pay for expenses. I don't have the data about the cost of health care to dengue patients because it entails so much research.

What I do have is some general data taken from the website www.denguematters.com. It said dengue is reported as a leading cause of childhood hospitalizations and in some cases for adults in the country. It also reports that the disease caused 285 deaths of children between 1 and 9 years of age as of Sept. 2011. Fatalities for 1–9 years of age accounted for nearly 60 percent of deaths due to dengue in 2011.

These facts highlight the importance of early vaccination for young children in endemic regions when a vaccine becomes available. If that's not scary to you, it is for me. I have two grandchildren who barely survived the onslaught of dengue.

In addition to costly medicines, I've yet to confirm the reports of a dengue vaccine that would be made available next year. I think it's baloney because if there is one, it should have been done a long time ago.

As to research on the very popular “tawatawa” plants that many claimed had cured their loved ones, I wonder why government didn't pour funds to research on it.

If not the government, then the private sector should be tapped to help as part of their corporate social responsibility. These politicians lording over us ought to be ashamed of themselves for stealing money from the people while so many people, especially children are dying of dengue for having no access to quality health care. Being disappointed in them, specifically the President, is an understatement.

If only I can ask the mosquitoes to spare our children and our people from dengue, then I would. Until then, I can only pray for the best and for the people of my country of birth as I continue in my own little way this advocacy against dengue.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on August 04, 2014.

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