By Celeste Anna Formoso
PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, (PNA) -– The Provincial Health Office reported Monday that there has been a large decrease in the number of malaria cases in Palawan.
Dr. Ed Cruz, head of the PHO in the province, said that based on data provided by the Kilusan Ligtas Malaria, the provincial government’s program that directly manages and controls intervention activities to fight malaria, 54, 747 residents all over Palawan underwent blood smearing for malaria parasite from January to June 2013.
This is 13, 340 residents higher than last year’s 41, 307 screened for malaria during the same period.
Cruz reported that out of the 2012 figure, 2, 482 residents tested positive of malaria, while 2, 673 tested the same out of this year’s total number of cases from January to June.
Based on the Slide Positivity Rate, this is only 4.88% increase compared to last year’s 6.00%.
The SPR has been “used as a surrogate measure of malaria incidence.”
The PHO chief explained further that since 1999, the number of Palawan residents that was affected by the mosquito-borne disease has reached 53,451 out of which 99 died compared to 4,628 in 2012 that is lower by 91%.
In the list of those whose lives perished due to malaria, only two deaths were recorded in 2012, or 98%, which is lower compared to the data in 1999.
“The data only proves that our fight against malaria through the intervention of the KLM is effective,” Cruz said.
Included in the interventions are vector control activities, such as insecticide spray in homes numbering 41,550; 8,704 bed net impregnation; 71,346 long lasting insecticide net distribution; 1,906 same bed nets to those doing field works and distribution of 5,230 pregnancy package.
Aside from this, Cruz boasted that the KLM is also diligently implementing COMBI or communication for behavioral impact activities, like regular meetings of volunteer barangay malaria microscopists, malaria sessions, school information dissemination, stream clearing and orientations before bed nets are distributed, as well as the pregnancy package.
As proof of effective implementation of the KLM program, Cruz also reported that in the past two years, no malaria has been detected in the northern towns of El Nido, Coron, Culion, Linapacan and Araceli.
Cruz reminded that the active participation of Palawan residents in fighting malaria and in maintaining a clean environment can help avoid not only malaria, but also dengue and the Chinkungunya diseases.
With the IHELP program of the provincial government under Governor Jose Alvarez, Cruz expects that the number of malaria cases will further decrease in the next few years.