CEBU, Philippines—With no money for hospital bills, a couple from barangay Pangdan, Naga town, south Cebu hesitated to bring their feverish child to a doctor. Their eight-month- old infant died of dengue on Wednesday.
The baby was one of three children who died this week from the mosquito-borne illness, bringing the total number of dengue fatalities in Metro Cebu to 13 since June.
The other two recent fatalities came from Mandaue City and Talisay City.
Naga rural health midwife Virginia Alinsonorin said the parents brought the infant to the public health center last Friday.
“They were told that the baby had to be confined in the hospital. But we found out yesterday the baby died at home because the parents had no money for hospitalization,” she said.
The child fatality from Mandaue City was a five-year-old boy who was taken at dawn yesterday to the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu City.
It was too late; he died a few hours after, said nurse Chevy Deiparine of the Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (RESU 7).
A five-year-old girl from San Isidro, Talisay City was taken to the Chong Hua Hospital in Cebu CIty last June 30. The girl died a few days later on July 3.
Naga town now counts five deaths from dengue since June, part of a total of 21 dengue cases.
The other fatalities came from barangay Pangdan and Mainit.
A check with the South General Hospital in Naga showed that 14 patients were confined for dengue and most patients came from Minglanilla and Naga towns.
Naga Mayor Valdemar Chiong in an interview yesterday said he wanted health authorities to declare a dengue outbreak in his town so that municipal officials could tap the town’s calamity fund.
With the devolution of health services to local governments, the declaration has to be made by the municipal government and not the Department of Health although the DOH can recommend one.
A dengue outbreak was earlier declared in Minglanilla town after the death of six children since June , affecting six barangays: Poblacion Ward 2, Ward 3, Ward 4, Tulay, Tungkop and Pakigne.
Chiong said he issued a memorandum to the barangay captains and school administrators to intensify their cleanup operation and participate in the four o’clock habit to eliminate breeding grounds of mosquitoes.
The mayor advised families to bring their children to the hospital as soon as they notice possible signs of dengue like high fever and rashes.
They also have to approach the municipal government or their barangay captains if they need financial aid. “If they don’t come to us, we won’t know what kind of assistance we can extend to them,” Chiong said.
“Everything boils down to environmental sanitation,” said Dr. Expedito Medalla, regional coordinator of the DOH’s Health Emergency Management Service.
He said residents must continue cleaning their surroundings and destroy all possible mosquito breeding places like stagnant pools, water containers and empty tires.