Vidal requires dengue prayer

09/09/2010 - CEBU Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal will issue a mandated prayer that the spread of dengue fever will be curtailed, even as he called on people to heed the instructions of authorities.

The prelate’s statement came after the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) reported the death of a six-year-old girl from Liloan town.

One of his petitions during the mass he celebrated yesterday at the Marian Shrine in Lindogon, Simala in Sibonga concerned the possibility of a dengue outbreak.

“I asked that we be spared from this calamity,” Cardinal Vidal said.

In its Sept. 1 to 7, 2010 dengue report, the VSMMC has listed five deaths caused by dengue fever.

In related developments yesterday:

l The Talisay City Government decided the newly-approved P1 million budget for dengue prevention will no longer be used to buy chemicals for misting operations.

l Mandaue City officials said they will tap business, schools and barangays in the fight against dengue fever, which has killed three children in the past few weeks.

l A private company that makes insect-repellent sprays and lotions will help about 11,700 households in 26 barangays.

l Another child died of dengue shock syndrome in Cebu City, increasing to 12 the number of deaths so far this year.

Five-year-old Lara Jane Blanco of Barangay Ermita was confined in Chong Hua Hospital since Aug. 30, until she died of internal bleeding last Sept. 1.

Assistant City Epidemiologist Durinda Macasocol said they immediately sent personnel to Ermita to conduct fumigation within a 50-meter radius of the Blanco residence, to kill adult mosquitoes and prevent infection among other residents.

The City Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (CESU) said there are now 1,424 dengue cases reported in the city this year.

City Hall is treating the dengue cases as an outbreak, although, the figure has not reached that level yet.

Barangay response teams were activated to search and destroy breeding areas of the Aedes aegypti mosquito that transmits dengue fever.

“Since Cebu now is being attacked by dengue, people should be not only be aware of it but should follow instructions of our government (officials),” Cardinal Vidal, 79, told reporters.

Keep your surroundings clean, he advised, and eliminate breeding places of the mosquitoes, such as old tires, dish drains, flower vases and ponds of clean, stagnant water.

Cardinal Vidal said he will issue an oratio imperata or mandated prayer for dengue, which will be recited after every mass in all churches, chaplaincies and formation houses in the Cebu Archdiocese.

The special prayer is usually formulated by the Archdiocesan Commission on Worship, approved by Cardinal Vidal and forwarded to Chancellor Msgr. Adelito Abella for dissemination.

In the past, similar obligatory prayers were recited for intentions such as peaceful elections and protection against natural calamities and illnesses such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome.

VSMMC spokesman Nonoy Mongaya said the latest six-year-old dengue casualty was admitted last Sept. 6 at 3:11 p.m. and died at dawn yesterday. She was diagnosed with dengue shock syndrome (DSS).

For Sept. 7, the number of dengue in-patients in ward 10 of VSMMC was pegged at 89, with 23 admissions and 31 discharges.

In Talisay City, officials have decided to use P1 million as financial and hospital aid for dengue victims.

“The City will now stop buying the chemicals,” said Councilor Celiapo Cabuenas yesterday.

Cabuenas, a member of the majority bloc, said the City Council would have allotted last week P2 million for its dengue epidemic control program.

But only P1 million was approved after Cabuenas questioned the efficiency of the city’s misting operations in the villages.

Officials said the city must tap barangay leaders, health volunteers, social workers and nutritionists to lead in the clean-up operations and improve the nutrition programs for underfed children.

In Mandaue, business, school and barangay sectors are being tapped in the fight against dengue.

So far, three children have died of dengue fever in the city since Aug. 10.

What worries the City Health Office is that Mandaue City is between Cebu City and Lapu-Lapu city-the highest and third highest city with the most number of dengue cases in Central Visayas.

In a press conference, Dr. Debbie Catulong said the health office is taking the lead in involving business, barangay captains and different schools in the fight against dengue.

They also revived barangay dengue brigades. The City Health Office, through the Association of Barangay Council, called all 27 barangay captains to a meeting last week to discuss what to do about dengue.

Mandaue has recorded 88 cases as of Aug. 28, compared to 160 cases from January to August last year.

In Cebu City, SC Johnson and Son, makers of Baygon and Off, launched yesterday an Iwas Dengue Campaign that seeks “to heighten the public’s awareness of dengue and educate them how it is contracted and how its spread can be prevented.”

Ramon Daez, general manager for the Malay cluster (Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore) of SC Johnson and Son, said they will be spraying for the next two weeks in the city.

“Rather than allowing the community to be afflicted by the virus, we want to help. Ang adhikain namin ay ang turuan ang mga tao sa tamang pag-aalaga sa kapaligiran in order to prevent the further breeding of dengue mosquitoes. With the alarming number of dengue cases, we are all the more emboldened to help in preventing the spread of the disease,” Daez said.

Another five-year-old girl, Lara Jane Blanco from Barangay Ermita, died of dengue fever last September 1.

Twelve have died of dengue in the city as of Sept. 4 this year.

Assistant City Epidemiologist Dorenda Macasucol clarified, though, that the toll is much lower than the 22 deaths in the same period last year.

Cebu City has recorded 1,424 dengue cases from January to Sept. 4, compared to 1,009 cases in the same period in 2009.

In a meeting with the Quick Emergency Response Medical Group recently, Mayor Michael Rama emphasized the importance of dengue-outbreak preparedness.

The Department of Health (DOH) considers the dengue cases in Barangays Labangon and Guadalupe “alarming”.

Health officials have also declared Barangays Apas, Lahug, Mabolo, Mambaling, Talamban, Punta Princesa and Tisa as dengue hot spots.

Rama also tasked other City Hall departments to help improve facilities at the Cebu City Medical Center in preparation for an outbreak. (Sun Star)

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