BAGUIO CITY (Jan. 15) — The city council approved this week proposed ordinances appropriating funds for health concerns as Dengue hemorrhagic fever and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). Introduced by City Councilor Erdolfo V. Balajadia, the approval on second and first reading of the Dengue and AIDS ordinances respectively elicited positive responses from the health officials.
The proposed resolution “Declaring the month of June of every year as Dengue Awareness Month in the City of Baguio and misappropriating funds therefor” has been approved on its second reading by the City Council.
According to Balajadia, there is a reported increase in the incidence of Dengue fever in Baguio City for the past five years that the incidence of Dengue fever for 2006 is more than twice that of the previous years, making dengue an emerging as well as a re-emerging disease of global concern and considered as one of the vector-borne viral disease of public health concerned affecting mankind.
An administrative order also established the “Tepok Lamok- Dengue Sapok Program’ nationwide and launched the program with the observance of the 4:00 habit during rainy season to eliminate breeding places of mosquitoes.
June is an appropriate month to declare Dengue Awareness Month since it is the start of the rainy season, which leads to proliferation of mosquito breeding sites resulting to seasonal increase in Dengue cases, Balajadia said.
The resolution aims to reduce the morbidity and mortality rate of Dengue infection to a level where it will no longer be a public health problem, to prevent and control the transmission of Dengue virus from its mosquito vector to man and to intensify health education on Dengue prevention and control, Balajadia said.
Balajadia also enlisted the help of the following agencies such as the Department of Health (DOH-CAR), Department of the Interior and Local Government-Cordillera Administrative Region (DILG-CAR), Department of Education-Cordillera Administrative Region (DepEd-CAR), Department of Public Works and Highways-Cordillera Administrative Region (DPWH-CAR), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD-CAR), and the Public Information Agency (PIA). These agencies are enjoined to implement effective control measures, mobilizing community volunteers for house to house cleanliness campaign and supervising, help prevent water stagnation in canals and major water arteries by covering them, and disseminating information through mass media.
Meanwhile, the city council approved another resolution proposed by Balajadia on its first reading at the regular session meeting, Proposed Ordinance NO. PO 006-07 “Providing Assistance to Persons with HIV/AIDS within the City of Baguio and Appropriating funds thereof”.
In Balajadia’s proposed ordinance, the Philippines is estimated to have around 12,000 persons with HIV infections (range of 7,300 to 20,000) with ages ranging from 15 and over. The prevalence rate of adults aged 15 to 49 is less than 0.1. In Baguio City, a total of 23 HIV infection registered in the Local Refistry since 1992 up to the present. There are 12 males versus 11 females with an age range of 23 to 45 years. Twelve have already died, including 13 overseas contact workers, two sexually active females, five homosexuals and two foreigners.
Medical Officer 5 of the Social Hygiene Clinic in the Health Services Office, Dr. Celia Flor C. Brillantes, cited some comparative data in Baguio City since 2004 up to present. Brillantes mentioned that six were infected and one died in 2004, three cases of infection and one death in 2005, four cases and one death in 2006, and one death so far as for 2007.
As mentioned in the proposed ordinance of Councilor Balajadia regarding the assistance of persons with HIV/AIDS, policies shall be implemented such as the promoting of awareness about the causes, modes of transmission, consequences, means of prevention and control of HIV/AIDS through comprehensive, citywide educational and information campaign organized or persons perceived or suspected of having HIV shall be considered inimical individuals and national interest. Also to extend to every person suspected or known to be infected with HIV/AIDS full protection of that individual’s human rights and civil liberties as well as to promote utmost safety and universal precautions in practices and procedures that carry the risk of HIV transmission. it shall also positively address and seek to eradicate conditions that aggravate the spread of HIV infection, including but not limited to, poverty, gender, inequality, prostitution, marginalization, drug abuse and ignorance. In addition, it recognizes the potential role of affected individuals in propagating vital information and educational messages about HIV/AIDS and shall utilize their experience to warn the public about the disease.
Brillantes added that the proposed ordinance of City Councilor Balajadia to provide assistance to persons with HIV/AIDS within the City of Baguio, and to appropriate funds is a big step for the City Health Services of Baguio City to strengthen the fight against HIV/AIDS. # Alden Marc Llanes for NORDIS