CAR ups surveillance after being declared malaria-free
The Department of Health-Cordillera said malaria regulation hubs have been established to improve the region’s surveillance against the disease.
The region was earlier declared malaria-free, with the addition of Apayao, which achieved the status last year or a full year after Ifugao and Kalinga were declared malaria-free.
“Dapat at least five consecutive years na walang single case na ma-record bago ma-declare na malaria-free ang isang lugar,” said medical technologist Roy Fianching, the malaria-free program focal person of the DOH-Cordillera.
He said Mountain Province got the declaration in 2018, Abra in 2016 while Baguio and Benguet got their declaration in 1993.
In partnership with the local government units, Fianching said the DOH established the malaria regulation hubs to make the surveillance continuous in addressing malaria-related problems.
The hubs are also used for the stockpiling of documents, medicines, and vector control like insecticides.
The Center for Disease Control, on its website, said the natural history of malaria involves cyclical infection of humans and female Anopheles mosquitoes.
In humans, the parasites grow and multiply first in the liver cells and then in the red cells of the blood.
In the blood, successive broods of parasites grow inside the red blood cells and destroy them, releasing daughter parasites (“merozoites”) that continue the cycle by invading other red blood cells.
The website also said infected mosquito carries the disease from one human to another acting as a “vector,” while infected humans transmit the parasite to the mosquito.
“We remain aggressive because there are still provinces in the country where there are cases like in Palawan, Tawi-Tawi, and Sultan Kudarat,” Fianching said.
Fianching said the continued presence of malaria in other provinces makes it possible for insects to be revived with the help of humans acting as carriers.
“One case lang pwede ng ma-consider as outbreak kaya may tuloy-tuloy na surveillance and zero reporting of the provinces (one case recorded is already considered an outbreak that is why we have continuing surveillance and zero reporting of the province),” he said.
He said the country is targeting to be malaria-free by 2030.
“Experts think we can achieve this,” he said.
Fianching said that medicines for malaria are not available in drugstores, but have been provided by the World Health Organization to countries worldwide, thus the stockpiling of supplies. – PNA