Dengue Day in Tacloban City: eliminating vectors in typhoon-affected communities

Dengue and Chikungunya, plus other vector borne diseases, remain important public health problems in Tacloban City and other communities affected by Typhoon Yolanda.

This prompted a collaboration between the Local Government Units (LGUs), the National Government through the Department of Health Regional Office VII (DOH – RO VIII), International Non-government Organizations (INGOs) and the public sector to monitor and address these health threats and take appropriate action.

Control and preventive measures consist of emergency fogging, misting and larviciding activities while IEC (Information, Education and Communication) materials have been developed to increase people’s awareness. Communities and institutions have also been mobilized through programs such as “Aksyon Barangay Kontra Dengue (ABKD)” through the “Search and Destroy” mechanism and the “4 o’clock Habit”.

As the rainy season begins, cases of dengue and chikungunya are expected to increase. This calls for vigilant action to protect vulnerable communities from these looming threats.

Dengue Day in Tacloban

On 26 June 2014, a city-wide awareness campaign against dengue was launched in Tacloban City.

The day-long activity started with a motorcade at Tacloban City Hall which was joined by different INGOs, ‘Dengue Warriors’ from different barangays (selected Hot Spot and High Risk Barangays), CHO (City Health Office) personnel, selected NDP, Department of Education (DepEd) personnel, students from TESDA (Technical Education and Skills Development Authority) and HIF, and selected hospitals in Tacloban City. Tarpaulins with health promotion messages on Dengue were put up on each vehicle and flyers were given out to bystanders.

The motorcade was followed by a symposium in the TESDA Gymnasium at Abucay, Tacloban City. It was facilitated by the Department of Health, City Health Office, World Health Organization Philippines and various NGOs and INGOs to provide vital information to the public on dengue and chikungunya control and prevention. Key messages revolved around two topics: Dengue and Chikungunya as a Public Health Threat in Tacloban City, and Government Programs on Dengue Prevention and Control through Integrated Vector Management.

The final aspect of the campaign has been the school-to-school campaign. ‘Dengue Warriors’ and INGOs were each assigned a school where they conducted interactive and informative sessions that tackled Dengue and Chikungunya, using WHO Dengue awareness posters and ‘Dengue Warrior’ wristbands provided by WHO. The WHO visited three schools in the activity: Sangkahan National Nigh School, San Jose Central School and Garmces (Abucay) Elementary School.

Overall, the event was a huge success as there was active participation from the community (barangays), the government and participating INGOs. This was made possible by the Tacloban City Health workers, Philippine Department of Health, World Health Organization, Philippine Red Cross, Oxfam, CRS, Plan International, Samaritan’s Purse, Save The Children, Mother of Mercy Hospital, Divine Word Hospital, RTR Hospital, Holy Infant College, Sacred Heart College, and all secondary and elementary schools in the city.

For the second and final phase of the activity, a Synchronized City Wide Search and Destroy Activity is set on 5 July 2014.