TODAY, with still no vaccine against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), what Filipinos, particularly the poorest of the poor across the country, fear is an outbreak of another deadly disease.
In the Philippines, where many people still die without seeing a medical doctor due to grinding poverty, dengue occurs year-round, but the peak transmission usually occurs during the rainy season.
The number of dengue cases reported to the World Health Organization rose 15-fold over the last two decades, from 505,430 in 2000 to over 2,400,138 and 3,312,040 in 2010 and 2015, respectively.
Malacanang has expressed hope the country would be able to avoid an outbreak of other life-threatening diseases, like dengue, as COVID-19 continues to terrorize the Philippines and the rest of the world.
Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque made the statement after the Department of Health (DOH) warned that the recent onset of the rainy season could lead to the increase in dengue cases.
“Sana nga na huwag itong mangyari dahil ayaw nga natin na mas marami pa ang ating mga kababayan na magkasakit,” said the highly-articulate Roque, a lawyer and a former party-list congressman.
DOH data showed that a total of 50,169 dengue cases were listed from January 1 to May 30, which is 46 percent lower than the 92,808 cases recorded during the same period last year.
Last month, no less than President Duterte urged our parents and guardians to have their children vaccinated for 25 debilitating or life-threatening diseases, such as tetanus and diphtheria.
It is certainly disturbing and saddening that in some provinces, there are parents or guardians who are still hesitant to have their children vaccinated, drawing the ire of health authorities.
It is time to step up the pressure on the people, notably the parents, to support the government’s vaccination program, which is aimed at ensuring the health and safety of our youngsters.