Health agency: North Cotabato is 'filaria-free'-A A +A
Friday, June 24, 2011
KIDAPAWAN CITY -- Despite the flooding in North Cotabato during the past years, the province still registered a zero incidence of filariasis.
Filariasis is an infectious tropical disease caused by thread-like filarial roundworms.
Floods, according to health studies, can increase the transmission of communicable water-borne diseases, including typhoid fever, cholera, and leptospirosis, and vector-borne diseases like malaria, dengue, and filariasis.
But since 2009, records showed, no case of filariasis has been monitored in any of the towns where the disease is considered endemic.
The province, after passing the standards or criteria set by the World Health Organization (WHO), was declared filaria-free in a simple ceremony at JC Complex here Wednesday.
The declaration was read by Health Undersecretary Gerardo Bayugo and was witnessed by Dr. Jeffrey Hii of the WHO.
The judging standards said the prevalence rate of the disease should be less than one percent in identified areas; there should be no positive among children aged two to four years old who were tested; and there should be no positive among the 3,000 new school entrants.
Cotabato is among the eight provinces in the country declared filaria-free. It is the only province in Soccsksargen declared as free from the disease.
The region has four provinces and five cities: provinces of South and North Cotabato, Sarangani, and Sultan Kudarat, and cities of General Santos, Cotabato, Kidapawan, Tacurong, and Koronadal.
Despite the declaration, officials of Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO) in North Cotabato said the campaign against filariasis and other vector-borne diseases will continue.
"This is not a time to let loose in our campaign. We won't stop. We will continue informing people on how to prevent the disease," said Dr. Ray Catague, head of the IPHO Cotabato.
As a support to the campaign, the Department of Health, through Undersecretary Bayugo, turned over P1 million to the IPHO Cotabato.
The money will serve as seed fund for the agency's advocacy, surveillance, monitoring, and intensive campaign.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on June 25, 2011.