The Department of Education issued a memorandum emphasizing the urgency of the anti-dengue drive particularly in schools where school children become most vulnerable. This is in support of the national campaign led by the Department of Health (DOH) conducted regularly during the rainy season in all public schools nationwide.
Carrying this year’s theme “Eskwelahan, Simbahan, Barangay, Palengke at Buong Komunidad, Sama-Sama Nating Sugpuin ang Dengue,” the department released DepEd Memorandum (DM) No. 152, series 2011 that specifies measures that should be undertaken to protect the school populace from dengue.
“Dengue fever is one of the country’s major health concerns now. Over the years, it has taken its toll on our population, including many of our school children, our health services, and the nation’s overall productivity. This is why DepEd has been one of the most committed agencies in the anti-dengue campaign. Our motivation is obvious: our schoolchildren are among the most prone to dengue-carrying aedes aegypti mosquitoes, and we want this to stop,” said Education Secretary Armin Luistro.
Luistro furthered that it is in this light that DepEd has been working hand in hand with DOH through a social mobilization and advocacy campaign to prevent and control dengue cases in all public schools nationwide through the 4S Strategy.
4S Strategy stands for Search and destroy; Seek early consultation; Self-protective measures; and Say “no” to indiscriminate fogging.
A DOH report revealed that a total of 22,903 dengue cases nationwide have been recorded from January to May 7 this year, 8% higher compared to the same period last year. 141 deaths have been recorded.
Most of the cases came from the National Capital Region (6,732), Central Luzon (4,181), and CALABARZON (3,555).
Clustering of cases was observed in some parts of La Union, Pangasinan, Bataan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac, Batangas, Laguna, Rizal, Cebu, Negros Oriental, Zamboanga del Sur, Misamis Oriental, Davao City, General Santos City, South Cotabato, Kalinga, and Metro Manila.
At the National Capital Region (NCR), Quezon City had the most (1,694) number of cases followed by Manila (824), Caloocan City (775), Pasig City (592), Valenzuela (466), and Parañaque City (407).
As a member of the Health and Emergency Management Team headed by the DOH, DepEd also serves as a focal agency in monitoring unusual disease occurrences or prevalence in schools. This includes reporting on any outbreak in dengue cases among schoolchildren in any part of the country.
To complement these efforts, the DepEd has made several issuances on dengue prevention and control which is currently being implemented by our school health personnel in coordination with school authorities in all elementary and secondary schools.
School officials are enjoined to mobilize all school health and nutrition personnel to disseminate information on the prevention and control of Dengue H-Fever in support of this campaign and in observance of the “Dengue Awareness Month” in June every year and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Dengue Day on June 15 each year.
DepEd is also implementing the Prevention Alert System in Schools (PASS), a systematic relay of information on the child’s or teacher’s state of health to medical personnel/agencies in the locality which all school heads should follow.
“We have taken these steps in our firm resolve to prevent this disease from continuing to inflict damage on the lives of our people, especially our young children. But we know these are not enough. The community should also pool their efforts and resources. We should let no one waver in this effort to free our people – especially our young children – from this disease that can be prevented and controlled,” said Luistro.
Under PASS, pupils/students will observe the well-being of their own classmates and immediately report if someone among them is not feeling well or has colds/cough or fever. If confirmed, the principal shall notify the family/guardian of the sick child. If the school does not have a physician, the nearest health center physician/municipal health officer or rural health worker shall be consulted.
Close collaboration should be made with the Parents-Teachers Associations (PTAs), Local Government Units (LGUs), and Municipal Health Offices (MHOs) on the conduct of information campaign against Dengue H-Fever; maintenance of environment sanitation in the schools and in the communities; and referral of pupils/students/personnel with symptoms of Dengue H-Fever.