During a Tuesday press conference, Department of Health officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire said that 80 out of 81 provinces in the Philippines were now malaria-free, with Palawan the only province where malaria cases were detected in the past several years.
Most provinces had been declared malaria-free since 1995, with Cebu, Bohol, and Catanduanes tagged as “malaria-free historically.”
Oriental Mindoro, Rizal, Aurora, and Cotabato were declared malaria-free in 2022.
“Ang malaria-free provinces, ang criteria nito (the criteria for this) is the absence of local transmission of malaria for the past five years,” Vergeire explained.
She said the DOH was coordinating with the local government of Palawan and the private sector to make Palawan malaria-free as well.
“Ngayon, nakikipag-trabaho tayo of course with the local government unit of Palawan so that we can achieve also this malaria-free province areas. Syempre, alam natin na it is not just mosquitos pero ‘yung environment where the mosquito thrives para ating ma-prevent ‘yung pagkalat ng transmission ng sakit na ito,” Vergeire added.
(We are working with the local government unit of Palawan so that we can also achieve a malaria-free Palawan. Of course, we not only have to address mosquitoes but the environment where the mosquito thrives so that we can prevent the spread of the transmission of this disease.)
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), malaria is a “life-threatening disease caused by parasites that are transmitted to people through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes.”
At least 247 million cases of malaria worldwide were recorded in 2021, with 619,000 victims dying from the illness. — DVM, GMA Integrated News