In observance of this year’s World Malaria Day, the Department of Health (DOH) today disclosed that only four provinces remain endemic for malaria as the country races to be declared malaria-free by 2030.
“These four provinces are Palawan, Sulu, Occidental Mindoro, and Sultan Kudarat,” Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III said, adding that of the total 81 provinces in the country, 50 are already declared malaria-free, 27are now under elimination phase, and only four remain as having local transmission.
Of the total cases reported in the country, ninety-five percent (95%) were from six (6) municipalities in Southern Palawan and 5% from the rest of the country. In 2018, a total of 4,870 malaria cases and four deaths were reported.
By 2022, the DOH aims to reduce malaria incidence rate by 90%. To realize this goal, the strategies include early diagnosis and complete treatment, use of insecticide-treated nets and indoor residual spraying of insecticide.
Malaria is contracted from a bite of an infective female Anopheles mosquito that breeds in rivers and lakes. It can also be transmitted by blood transfusion, and possibly mother to child before and or during birth.
The symptoms usually start approximately nine (9) to 14 days after the bite of an infective mosquito. However, in some types of malaria, the symptoms may appear one to several months after the infective mosquito bite. The symptoms include high fever, headache, chills and shivers, nausea and vomiting. In severe form, it may include severe vomiting and diarrhea, generalized convulsion, delirium and impaired consciousness, followed by coma and possibly death.
“Malaria is preventable,” Duque reminded. Key measures for malaria prevention are awareness of endemic areas, bite prevention through wearing of long sleeved clothes and using of insect repellants and mosquito nets (preferably insecticide-treated), and prophylactic treatment when travelling to endemic areas. If symptoms of malaria are observed, seek immediate medical consultation.