Public Service: Advisory from Department of Education

The Department of Education of the Philippines 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.



Re: Dengue Fever/Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever

With the onset of the rainy season, viral infections and mosquito borne illnesses are becoming common. One of the latter is Dengue Fever. To date, many areas in Metro Manila have already been affected. As part of disease prevention, this information is hereby disseminated.

Dengue is an acute viral illness that is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito, Aedes Aegypti, and occurs in two forms: dengue fever and dengue hemorrhagic fever. The first form is more common in older children and adults; symptoms include abrupt onset of high fever with headache, pain behind the eyes, muscle/joint pains and rash. There could also be abdominal pain, vomiting, nose and gum bleeding. The second form is a potentially deadly complication and is more common in children less than 15 years of age. Symptoms are similar to the first form along with circulatory failure and shock.

The transmitters of the disease are day biting mosquitoes that usually thrive in and around the household; they lay eggs in clear water containers, water puddles, drainage, etc. Thus, anybody, whether in slum areas or in exclusive subdivisions can be afflicted. There is no specific treatment for this disease. PREVENTION is still the best intervention. The following preventive measures are highly advised:

1. Elimination of mosquito breeding places

1. cover all water containers like jars or pails

2. dispose of garbage properly especially those that collect rain water like tin cans, empty bottles, old tires, etc.

3. change water containers for plant vases etc., at least every other day

4. check clogged roof gutters, this could hold water and serve as a mosquito breeding place

2. Prevention of mosquito bites

1. use of screen on windows and doorways

2. use of mosquito nets, electric mosquito repellers, lotion repellants and water based insect sprays

3. use of long sleeve shirts and long pants as needed

3. Early consultation in case of a suspicion of Dengue Fever infection

Corazon B. Batoon, MD, DPPS
School Physician
Philippine Science High School
Diliman, Quezon City