Tawa-tawa not proven dengue cure, but can be taken on the 'side' - DOH

Although local tawa-tawa herb has not been proven to cure dengue, the Department of Health (DOH) on Wednesday said that it may be taken along with effective medication. “We are not stopping them from using it (tawa-tawa) kasi nga na-evaluate naman ‘yun na it does not have toxic substance or any chemical within tawa-tawa so it’s safe naman,” said Dr. Lyndon Lee Suy, DOH manager for the Dengue Control and Prevention Program. He explained that drinking steeped tawa-tawa is “fluid replacement, which is basically the thrust for dengue [medication].” Still, Lee Suy reminded that dengue patients should first seek medical consultation. “See your doctor pa rin besides tawa-tawa.” He noted that tawa-tawa is still the

subject of a Department of Science and Technology study and evaluation. An earlier report said that the DOST was doing studies on the anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties of the herb. Early this year, the World Health Organization tagged dengue as a “pandemic threat” infecting an estimated 50 million people around the world. "In 2012, dengue ranked as the fastest spreading vector-borne viral disease with an epidemic potential in the world, registering a 30-fold increase in disease incidence over the past 50 years," the WHO said in a statement. In the Philippines, dengue has been on and off the list of the top 10 leading cause of death among Filipinos since 1991. Political fogging? The DOH program manager reiterated, “Dengue doesn’t spare anyone.” To this, he called for community participation and empowerment. “It’s all or none… responsibilidad nating lahat.” Apart from participation, Filipinos need to sustain their activities against dengue, he added. “Kailangang ipasok siya (paglaban sa dengue) sa pag-uugali at mahirap isustain ang isang kaugalian.” Meanwhile, Lee Suy reminded Filipinos of, “political fogging” or politicians using government health programs like fogging for their electoral mileage. He noted that fogging operations are only ideal when there is an outbreak or for preventive purposes. “Ginagamit siyempre sa kanilang pagpapapogi [ang mga fogging operations],” he said. “Why will we stop kung tama naman ang gagawin nila. Kung sinasabing nakakatulong di ba? Ang habol lang naming palagi, if you think your measure is worth and you can do it the right way or the proper way, why would we stop it?” “And of course, what matters is yung pag-iisip din naman ng community kung sinong iboboto nila o hindi,” he added. — DVM/KG, GMA News