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After being proclaimed malaria-free, CAR ramps up surveillance.

BAGUIO CITY, PHILIPPINES — The Cordillera Administrative Region’s (CAR) Department of Health announced on Monday that malaria regulatory hubs had been constructed to boost the region’s surveillance against the disease.

The whole CAR had previously been certified malaria-free, with the exception of Apayao, which was declared malaria-free last year, a full year after Ifugao and Kalinga provinces.

“At least five years na walang single case na ma-record bago ma-declare na malaria-free ang isang lugar,” said medical technologist Roy Fianching, the DOH-malaria-free Cordillera’s program focal person, in a media interview.

Mountain Province received its proclamation in 2018, Abra in 2016, and Baguio and Benguet in 1993, according to him.

The DOH built malaria regulatory centres in collaboration with local government units, according to Fianching, to provide continuous surveillance in resolving malaria-related concerns.

The hubs are also used to store documents, medicines, and insecticides for vector control.

The natural history of malaria, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website, involves cyclical infection of people and female Anopheles mosquitoes.

The parasites in people grow and reproduce first in the liver cells, then in the red blood cells. In the blood, successive broods of parasites invade and destroy red blood cells, releasing daughter parasites (merozoites) that continue the cycle by infecting additional red blood cells.

According to the website, an infected mosquito acts as a “vector,” transmitting the disease from one human to another, while infected humans transmit the parasite to the insect.
“We continue active,” Fianching stated, “since there are still places in the country where cases exist, such as Palawan, Tawi-Tawi, and Sultan Kudarat.”

According to Fianching, the continuous presence of malaria in other areas allows insects to be resurrected with the help of human carriers.

“One instance may be called an outbreak,” he continued, “so may tuloy-tuloy na surveillance and zero reporting of the provinces.”

He stated that the country hopes to be malaria-free by 2030. He stated, “Tingin ng experts natin, ma-attain natin ito (experts believe we can do this).”

According to Fianching, malaria treatments are not available in drugstores, but are distributed by the World Health Organization (WHO) to countries around the world, resulting in the stockpiling of supplies.

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