The Cebu City Government has been mired in fighting an invisible enemy in the form of a highly infectious novel coronavirus disease since the end of March this year. Now, it will have to contend with another opponent, one that it knows very well.
The Department of Health (DOH) 7 recently announced the return of dengue, the mosquito-borne illness that has been the bane of many residents of Cebu City during the rainy season.
With rain comes lots of water. Mosquitoes, including the Aedes aegypti, a known vector of several viruses aside from dengue, breed in water.
The Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit 7 logged a total of 8,724 cases from January until the first week of June.
According to the SunStar Cebu report, “this is 2.34 percent higher than the 8,524 cases recorded during the same period last year.”
The DOH 7 hasn’t been able to pinpoint the cause for the rise in dengue cases this year. The current health crisis has seen to that.
The agency’s dengue vector surveillance had to be put on hold and reports of its district reporting units are way behind since health workers have been too busy dealing with the Covid-19 situation.
In July last year, nine barangays in the city had to be closely monitored. These were Apas, Guadalupe, Pit-os, Basak San Nicolas, Lahug, Kamputhaw, Mambaling, Bonbon and Bacayan.
The DOH 7 may not have the resources or the manpower to do the same this year.
The administration of Mayor Edgardo Labella will also have to come up with a two-pronged strategy to address both the Covid-19 pandemic and a possible dengue outbreak.
To do this, it will need more money. The City’s finances are already spread thin. Its tax collection for the first quarter this year dropped to P297 million from the P910 million collected in the same period in 2019.
Cebu City is the only local government unit in the country that is still on enhanced community quarantine because the number of Covid-19 cases continues to go up.
It can’t well wage a two-front war with an arm tied behind its back.