BANGUED, Abra -- There is no room for complacency even after Abra has attained a malaria-free status since other neighboring provinces can become vector transmitters or carriers.
This was emphasized by Provincial Health Office Malaria Program Coordinator Dr. Lilibeth B. Martin to municipal health officers and representatives during a malaria sustainability and point person’s meeting.
Abra is the second province after Benguet to be declared as malaria-free in the Cordillera Region. The other provinces are still in the elimination phase.
The presence of vulnerable group and mobile population in and out of Abra like overseas workers, miners and soldiers is also a risk to maintaining Abra as malaria-free, she added.
Thus the continued implementation of surveillance activities in around 303 barangays to prevent malaria reintroduction in the province, Martin said.
In case of potential malaria reintroduction, the prime vector control measure she said is the distribution of long lasting insecticide treated nets (LLINs) and early detection thru rapid diagnostic tests and blood smear.
She reiterated that strengthened capacities of local health systems to meet the demands for malaria care and prevention services, improved local government support for the program, strengthened investment on malaria prevention and control and massive infusion of resources of the government and other sectors, increased availability of logistics and stakeholders commitment were main catalysts in the acceleration of malaria elimination in the province.
Malaria elimination in the Philippines sprouted from passion to obsession then obsession to possession, said Martin.
“Our nationwide vision by year 2030 or earlier is to eliminate Malaria disease. We must not fail as a nation,” Martin added. (GB)