The provincial government of Negros Oriental on Thursday received a PHP1-million incentive, as well as various equipment from the Department of Health (DOH), for being a malaria-free province.
DOH-7 (Central Visayas) regional director, Dr. Jaime Bernadas led the turnover ceremony at a local hotel here, with Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo receiving the donation.
In an interview, Bernadas said this is a huge achievement for the province as we have exerted a lot of effort to eliminate malaria as a threat to the province.
He cited the efforts of the governor, the Provincial Health Office (PHO), the rural health units, the mayors, as well as DOH workers and volunteers in achieving the malaria-free status.
The World Health Organization and the DOH central office both issued the declaration for Negros Oriental as malaria-free, he added.
We will be more proud to say that no one can get malaria here or for those coming to the province, he said.
The entire region is also now malaria-free, Bernadas said.
The challenge now is more on how to maintain it, he said.
To minimize the resurgence, one way is to control the population of the Anopheles mosquito, the vector that transmits the disease to humans, he said.
The PHP1-million grant is part of the DOH's program to give incentive to every province that has reached a disease-free status, Bernadas said.
Meanwhile, Degamo also thanked all who had contributed to making Negros Oriental free from malaria.
Earlier, the province also received an award for the same achievement, but Degamo said we really don't need an award. What is more important is that we have eliminated that disease from the province.
Degamo said the money that DOH gave to the province, as well as the provincial government's own budget, will be used for activities that will ensure that there will be no malaria resurgence in the coming years.
Dr. Liland Estacion, who heads the PHO, earlier said the last reported malaria case was seven years ago in the southern town of Sta. Catalina.
Not a single malaria case has been reported since then, she added.
Some of the malaria program equipment donated to the province include a GPS tracker, compression sprayers, a misting machine, a computer set and printer, stereoscopic microscope, and entomological research kits, among others.
Source: Philippines News Agency