CAR now malaria-free as Apayao records zero cases
All the provinces in the Cordillera region are now malaria-free with the Department of Health recently certifying Apayao as officially free of malaria.
DOH Officer-in-Charge Maria Rosario Singh-Vergeire and other health officials led the recognition of program implementers from the different local government units that were declared as malaria-free from 2019 to 2022.
Apayao was among the 16 provinces recognized during the World Malaria Day and Malaria-Free Awarding ceremony in Quezon City on April 25.
The award was received by DOH-CAR Director Rio Magpantay, DOH-CAR Vector Borne Control Program Coordinator Roy Fiatching, Apayao Provincial Health Officer Mark Calban, and Apayao Governor’s Office Chief of Staff Verlie Baldovino.
Apayao achieved the mark of being malaria-free for posting zero local transmission of the disease in the past five years.
Calban shared the strategies of the province in achieving the zero-free malaria status, which include communication for behavioral impact, vector control, and educating the community.
He also emphasized the sustainability measures the province implemented that greatly contributed to sustaining the good record.
Calban said these measures are the establishment of malaria diagnostic centers, conduct of case finding activities, and entomological surveillance, and strengthened surveillance system.
In her keynote message, Vergeire said the DOH will continue the fight against malaria in the country aiming to make the country malaria-free by 2030.
Vergeire said the country has made significant leaps in its malaria response in the past 30 years. From 95,778 confirmed cases and 864 deaths in 1992, the figures were reduced to more than 48,000 cases and 162 deaths in 2003.
She added efforts to control malaria through continuous research to deliver a new and evidence-based intervention should be sustained even if 66 provinces have been declared malaria-free and 15 provinces have already reached elimination status.
Vergeire recommended that program management be expanded through continuing research in order to give fresh and evidence-based treatment.
She also promoted innovations in diagnosis, treatment and vector control. – Redjie Melvic Cawis