Cebuano lawmaker files bill for creation of 'dengue centers'

WITH a nearly 200 percent increase in dengue cases for 2022, Cebu City Second District Rep. Eduardo “Edu” Rama Jr. is hopeful that his bill that seeks the establishment of dengue virus testing and screening centers will be passed into law immediately.

Rama has proposed House Bill (HB) 4607, which aims to establish dengue testing and screening centers in every city and municipality in the country.

The Cebuano legislator said “the number of dengue cases is quite alarming, and the situation demands an immediate response from the government.”

Data from the Epidemiology Bureau of the Department of Health under its epidemic-prone Disease Case Surveillance Morbidity Week 51 stated that from Jan. 1 to Dec. 24, 2022, a significant increase of 184 percent in dengue cases was recorded compared to the cases in the same period in 2021.

A total of 224,477 individuals have been recorded to have dengue in 2022 in the entire country, compared to the 78,983 cases reported in the same period in 2021.

“While there is no specific medicine to treat dengue, the disease may be managed better through early detection, diagnoses and correct management,” said Rama in his explanatory note.

He added that the availability of testing and screening facilities in health centers is crucial to tackling the number of dengue patients.

“While the DOH has the existing facilities and has strengthened the diagnosis and management capabilities of rural health units, there is a need to provide free testing and screening for suspected dengue cases,” Rama said.

It has also been noted that many local government units, especially rural communities, do not have dengue diagnostic test centers that can cater to the needs of suspected dengue positive residents and their families.

With HB 4607, every dengue center shall provide a free rapid diagnostic test for the early detection of vector-borne disease.

Aside from the free rapid diagnostic tests for the public, the dengue centers will now be the source for recording and reporting of dengue cases. It will also focus on the dissemination of information and create awareness of the dengue virus.

“The establishment of dengue centers in all cities and municipalities will help in the early diagnosis of dengue through clinical examination, complemented with a simple and rapid diagnostic tool,” Rama said.

Rama believes that community-based testing has been proven vital to the prevention and control of various diseases, including the surveillance of cases. (PR)