CAGAYAN DE ORO - In line with its dengue prevention program, the Department of Health (DOH) is distributing mosquito nets worth P3 million to public elementary schools in northern Mindanao.

Dr. David Mendoza, head of DOH Epidemiology Department in Northern Mindanao, said olyset roll, an insecticide-treated white mosquito net, will be given out in schools to be used as curtains inside the classrooms.

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One roll, which costs P7,400, can cover four classrooms and helps control the entry of mosquitoes.

"This is part of our advocacy to help eradicate dengue. This year, we are quite alarmed since cases of dengue have already reached 2,345 from January to June, while last year, there were 568 cases." Mendoza said.

In coordination with the Department of Education (DepEd), Mendoza said the health department has initially identified 12 public elementary schools in Northern Mindanao to receive the olyset rolls.

Dr. Jocelyn P. Torrecampo, regional vector borne disease coordinator, said 10 rolls of olyset, which can cover 40 classrooms, will be distributed to these identified 12 schools.

Torrecampo said the mosquito net curtain would last until five years but must be treated once in every six months and washed once a month.

"This kind of curtain is so light and handy so it would not give a dim effect on the classrooms. Since we cannot give protection to pupils during day time, we would ensure their safety by innovating a daytime mosquito net to prevent them from getting dengue," Torrecampo said.

Among the provinces in the region, Bukidnon recorded 517 cases this year compared with last year's 47 cases, making the province a "dengue hotspot in the region," Mendoza said.

"That is why this year, we come up with a different project (olyset roll) to help in controlling dengue. Our targets are the elementary public schools in the region since most of the cases recorded are among five to nine years old, who are students," Mendoza added.

In Northern Mindanao, the DOH has already disposed 120 olyset rolls to different schools with high cases of dengue for 2008 and 2009.

On July 14, another batch of olyset rolls would be given to 26 schools, she said.

In Cagayan de Oro, the DOH has initially identified West City Central School in Barangay Carmen for pilot testing on Monday next week.

Among the schools in the region that would be given olyset rolls include Valencia Central School, Gango Elementary School, Mahayahay Iligan Central School, Talisayan Central School, Don Restituto Baul Gingoog Central School, Mambajao Central School, Binitinan Balingasag Elementary School, St. Cruz Tagoloan City Central School, Salay Central School, Duka Medina Elementary School and Libona Elementary school in Bukidnon.

However, since the DOH cannot provide olyset rolls to all schools in the region, the DOH will distribute U tabs instead to school officials. U tabs can be used to make a solution that can treat ordinary curtains.

But even with the distribution of the mosquito nets, the DOH is still advocating the prevention of dengue through the Four S - search and destroy all mosquito dwellings, self protection, seek early consultation, and stop indiscriminate fogging.

Dengue epidemic

Meanwhile, alarmed over the rising cases of dengue fever in Davao del Sur, the Provincial Health Office (PHO) has placed the province as dengue epidemic.

Dr. Azucena Dayanghirang said since the month of January up to present, at least 600 patients were diagnosed to have dengue and were confined in various hospitals.

In Davao del Sur Provincial Hospital alone, more than 10 patients were diagnosed to have dengue while a 24-year-old girl expired on Tuesday.

Margy Grace Manib, a resident of Barangay Lapulabao, Hagonoy Davao del Sur, died while transported for Intensive Care Unit (I.C.U.) management.

"It is alarming because the mortality increased to 13 up to present," she said.

In 2009, a total of 246 dengue patients were listed at the PHO and only two were in mortality.

Health personnel from the PHO were already dispatched to conduct massive information dissemination and consolidation to aware the public. (Nicole J. Managbanag of Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro/Orlando B. Dinoy/Sunnex)