Sunday Essays: Prevention wins

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Saturday, January 11, 2014

BEYOND poverty, poor people have to put up a fight against illnesses that can hit them faster than the speed of light and even silently like a ninja.

In Barangay 9-A of Poblacion, many are still struggling to avoid the disease brought by mosquitoes, especially the children. Not only do the children suffer from dengue, parents also suffer the cost of paying for their medicine and hospital bills.

Some of those who live in this area do not have the means to buy the right medicine, and so they seek help from the barangay.

Marlou G. Salazar, a resident of Purok 6, Barangay-9A, said that while they would prefer financial assistance, the medical assistance given by the barangay is already a big help.

"Akong duha ka anak nagka-dengue. Human niadto ko diri. Nagpa-usok sila didto. Na-admit akong mga anak pero nakapangayo mi ug tabang sa Lingap sa City Hall. (My two children had dengue. We went here to the barangay hall. They went to our house for fogging operations. My children were admitted in the hospital but we were able to ask help from Lingap in the city hall)," Salazar explained.

Barangay Captain Roderico "Tata" Llubit said they try their best to help anyone in need of assistance, particularly medical-financial, but they could never shoulder the expenses that the children need.

"Kung matulungan namin sila dito sa barangay hall, konti lang, yung partial. (If we can help them here at the barangay hall, we spend partially.) We turn them over to Lingap for medical assistance but we also have Congressional Medical Assistance Program (CMAP)," Llubit said.

Lingap para sa Mahirap, a program by the City Government of Davao, provides varieties of health assistance such as hospital financial assistance, funeral/burial assistance and pharmaceutical assistance.

"There is a set amount per day of 3, 000 depending on how expensive the bill is," James Antiampo, programs assistant on releasing (Lingap), explained. "As long as they comply with the requirements and pass the City Social Services and Development Office (CSSDO) to identify them as indigenous."

Prevention is better than cure.

Cure can be given by anyone, be it your neighbor, the barangay hall or Lingap. But it is better not to rely on these people and just avoid the problem entirely.

The might not be any serious outbreak but continuous cases of dengue have been filed within the grounds of Barangay 9-A Poblacion.

Department of Health (DOH) recorded the boost of cases from 9,212 last year to 10,110 this year. Although there was an increase, DOH saw an improvement on medical assistance to the people of Davao City that decreased fatality rate from 1.1 to 0.6.

"We gave out 'olyset net' to schools. They're like mosquito nets, white cloth which can be converted to curtains. This kills mosquitoes the moment they attach to it. You can wash it and still have an effect for 3-5 years," Mary Divene Hilario, unit head of Health Education Promotion Section (HEPS) said.

Hilario stated that they gave the nets to schools and places near the "topnotchers" of most recorded dengue cases.

Barangay Captain Llubit revealed that he is very strict on the 4 o'clock habit where everyone in the barangay is instructed to clean their houses or areas every four in the afternoon.

"May mga purok leaders ako na nagchecheck and nagtuturo sa mga areas sa 4 o'clock habit (I have ward leaders who check the areas and teach the community on the 4 o'clock habit),"he added.

It may be beyond anyone's control but every bad thing can be prevented. It may be nature-made but it can always be avoided.

One of the residents even agrees that people should be strict in implementing the rules and practices that they need to follow. She said that the efforts of the DOH and the barangay hall are not enough. It is the responsibility of the people who live in the areas to clean and be aware.

At the end of the day, everyone needs to be aware and be preventive of more cases in the barangay, most especially in the whole country. (Glanery Anne Pareja Mañalac)

*****

Sunday Essays are articles written by students of Ateneo de Davao University for their journalism class.

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