Red Cross steps up dengue information drive
The Philippine Red Cross has intensified its health education and information drive following the reported prevalence of dengue cases in several areas in the country, including Metro Manila.
The Department of Health (DOH) monthly disease surveillance report cited that at least 22,113 dengue cases with 128 deaths have been recorded in different sentinel hospitals across the country from January to April 28, 2012. The said reported cases were 17.21 percent lower compared to the same period last year, when the DOH registered 26,709 in 2011.
PRC Chairman & CEO Richard Gordon immediately directed national headquarters and all chapters with reported dengue cases to intensify its community health activities, mobilizing trained Red Cross 143 health volunteers in all affected barangays. Red Cross 143 is the volunteer flagship program that recruits and trains 44 volunteers in every barangay – one team leader and 43 members to serve as Red Cross humanitarian arms on the ground in times of crisis, including public health emergencies.
At the same time, Gordon appealed for more volunteer blood donors to give blood as dengue patients need blood products for transfusion.
Many of the blood request that come to Red Cross are for dengue cases, according to Red Cross. Considering that the months of April to June are lean months for blood supply, with most of volunteer blood donors out on summer holidays, "We are afraid that should dengue cases rise further and demand for blood increase more, the Red Cross and other blood collecting agencies may not be able to cope,’’ Gordon said. "That will be the most unfortunate thing to happen. No one should die because of lack of blood," Gordon stressed.
PRC Secretary General Gwendolyn T. Pang, on the other hand reminded the public to always keep their surrounding clean and dry to prevent breeding ground for mosquitoes. She also urged parents to closely monitor the health condition of their children and to bring them right away to the doctor once they have persistent fever and headache. The DOH said most of the dengue cases were from the National Capital Region.
Three regions posted higher dengue cases this year as recorded by the DOH- Disease Surveillance Report. Zamboanga Peninsula, Davao and the Bicol Regions are the only regions where the number of reported dengue cases is higher compared to the same period last year.