DOH-Caraga eyes malaria-free region

Erwin M. Mascariñas, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 24 2018 01:34 AM

BUTUAN CITY - The Department of Health (DOH) Caraga Regional Office has announced that two more provinces in the region will soon be declared malaria-free.

The DOH also said it is closer to achieving the goal of having the entire region free of malaria. 

“We already have three provinces here in Caraga Region that have been declared malaria-free, they are the provinces of Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur and the island province of Dinagat. We are optimistic that soon, the provinces of Agusan del Sur and Agusan del Norte will also be declared malaria free,” said Erna T. Cravajal, regional malaria coordinator of DOH Caraga.

“Agusan del Sur will be assessed this coming May 8 to 11, 2018 by the technical working group from the central office and then Agusan del Norte will be assessed next year if there will be no reported indigenous case,” said Cravajal.

Records from the DOH Caraga suggest that the last reported case of malaria was in 2013 in barangay Mahaba in Cabadbaran City.

“Before a province can be eligible and could be considered for the validation and investigation from the technical working group of the malaria control and elimination program from the central office, the province must have the span of 5-years without any reported indigenous case of malaria. Indigenous, meaning it should be coming from the locality and not from someone traveling and bringing the case to our provinces,” she said. 

Cravajal cited an incident in 2016 wherein 14 malaria cases were reported in Sitio Mactan, Loreto, Agusan del Sur. But investigation later revealed that the victims were infected in Capalong, Davao del Norte prior to them traveling to Loreto.

DOH Caraga regional director Dr Jose Llacuna said, “We can only do so much but to prevent mosquito bites, practice vector control and effective surveillance are essential in our effort to eradicate malaria.”

“Our goal in the malaria control and elimination program is to have a malaria free Philippines by 2030, so we have 12 years more to go. Hopefully all the provinces throughout the archipelago will have the elimination by 2025, presently we are left with 7 provinces with malaria cases in the entire Philippines,” Llacuna added. 

Data from the DOH reveal that 7 provinces still have reported endemic cases of malaria, with Palawan having the highest number of cases, followed by Davao del Norte, Sulu, Sultan Kudarat, Davao del Sur, Maguindanao, and Occidental Mindoro.