Pangasinan aims for WHO certification as malaria-free zone

LINGAYEN, Pangasinan — The province of Pangasinan will vie for a certification from the World Health Organization as a malaria disease- free zone if it maintains its zero malaria case until the end of this year.

This was disclosed by Dr. Anna De Guzman, provincial health officer, during the 5th Annual Provincial Health Summit and 2014 LGU Scorecard Awarding Ceremony last November 6 at the Sison Auditorium here.

Since 2011, Pangasinan has not recorded any malaria incidence , making the province a candidate for the WHO certification which strictly requires a five-year malaria-free case period.

The province, however, has recorded the presence of malaria parasites in the past to include 18 cases in 2006, 39 in 2007, 12 in 2008, 16 in 2009, and five in 2010, according to De Guzman.

This data was gathered by the Field Health Service Information System.

De Guzman said that the province has been conducting various activities aimed to attain the malaria-free status.

Health workers have made active case surveillance through regular blood smearing of symptomatic patients from endemic areas, institutionalized vector control measures through the conduct of border operations, indoor residual spraying of houses, among others.

According to the WHO, malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by parasites that are transmitted to people through the bites of infected female mosquitoes.

Meanwhile, in her report on Pangasinan health situation, the provincial health officer underscored the importance of continuously enhancing facilities including the upgrade of diagnostic services, which the province has been doing.

Gov. Amado Espino Jr. noted that about 25 percent of the total budget of the province has been allotted to health care, reiterating that health remains as the top priority of his administration.

“No province in the Philippines can equal the efforts being done by the provincial government regarding health system, particularly on preventive measures and necessary training,” he said.

Several provinces have already visited Pangasinan to observe and benchmark the quality of its health care system.PNA