Armm malaria cases down in 1st quarter

MALARIA cases in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Armm) went down significantly in the first quarter of 2016, the regional health department reported.

Department of Health (DOH)-Armm Secretary Kadil Sinolinding on Tuesday said only 33 cases of malaria were reported in the region during the first quarter compared to last year’s quarterly average of roughly 68 cases.

Sinolinding said that the province of Sulu registered the highest number of malaria incidence in the first quarter with 21 cases.

He said the province of Tawi-Tawi recorded nine cases while Maguindanao three cases. There was no malaria case reported in the Province of Lanao del Sur.

Earlier, the DOH-Armm reported the number of malaria cases in the region went down to 274 cases in 2015 from 3,539, or a quarterly average of close to 900 cases, in 2012. 

Sinolinding described the consistent decline in malaria cases in Armm as a major accomplishment for the agency and the regional government.

“Malaria is a disease that has a big chance of eradication with the help of various stakeholders,” Sinolinding noted.

He said malaria is a disease of the blood caused by the Plasmodium parasite. It is transmitted from person to person by the female Anopheles mosquito. This type of mosquito primarily bites between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. 

The disease can also be transmitted through blood transfusion and needle sharing.

Malaria symptoms include fever, headache and vomiting. It begins 10 days to four weeks after infection, although a person infected may feel ill as early as seven days after the mosquito bite.

Malaria infection can develop into anemia, hypoglycaemia, or cerebral malaria in which capillaries carrying blood to the brain are blocked. 

Cerebral malaria can cause coma, life-long learning disabilities, and even death. 

Sinolinding said no death from the disease was recorded in Armm in the first quarter of 2016. Malaria mortality rate in the region decreased to four deaths in 2015 from six deaths in 2010. 

Meanwhile, Sinolinding said that the DOH-Armm has conducted a forum on Monday aimed at strengthening partnership with various stakeholders including regional line agencies and DOH-ARMM employees.

Sinolinding said the forum also sought the renewal of commitments in totally eliminating malaria in Armm.

He said Armm has allotted P8 million for its malaria control efforts and the amount was distributed to the region’s different provinces with priority to areas that suffered most from malaria in the past.

He said the malaria control budget was downloaded to Armm from the regular funds of the national government and from other funding institutions such as Global Fund, Pilipinas Shell Foundation, Inc., Movement Against Malaria, and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

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