December 5, 2018

Health Talks : Movement Against Malaria, Conquering a Dreaded Disease

Philippines observes Malaria Awareness Month last November, the Kapihan sa Manila Hotel was held and discuss how the Department of Health, private corporations and non-government organizations championed the eradication of malaria in Palawan, Bataan and Bulacan, with a success rate of as high as 96%.

Pilipinas Shell Foundation, Inc., together with its partners, made it possible for the three provinces to be almost malaria-free and if the same program is replicable across the nation, especially in malaria endemic areas. 

At Kapihan held at Manila Hotel,  Malaria champions: Dr. Raffy Deray, national malaria coordinator of the DoH , Pilipinas Shell Foundation, Inc. Executive Director Edgar Veron Cruz and Marvie Trudeu, and PSFI Deputy Program Manager for Movement Against Malaria (MAM)

Back in the 9os, the Phillppines used to be a hotbed of Malarla cases. Two decades in, the
country is close to becoming totaly Malarla free.

Health officlals and health advocates, however, belleve that there is still much to accomplish to completely rid the country of this dreaded disease.

In the Kaplhan sa Manla Hotel held last Monday, Department of Health (DOH) national Malaria coordinator Dr. Raffy Deray stressed that the country is definitely on its way to being Malaria-free, thanks to the efforts of some private-sector health advocates who have worked hand-in-hand with the government to curb the dreaded disease

Dr. Deray revealed that the number of Malarla cases in the country has dropped significantly in recent years, thanks to government partners who have spearheaded anti-Malaria. "Contrary to popular belief, the Malarla situatlon in the country is much better."

Now than our nelghboring countries in the ASEAN and even in the Aslan region," Dr. Deray stressed.

Probably the most successful anti-Malaria program initiated in the country is the program initated by Pillpinas Shell Foundation Inc. (PSFI) in Palawan in 1999.  initially referred to as the Kilusan Ligtas Malaria (KLM), the program got off the ground with a Php36-million grant from Shell Philippines Exploration B.V. (SPEX)  with the province of  Palawan as its starting point. 

"When we saw that the biggest problem of Palawan was its Malaria situation, we in PSFI decided to address this issue and started KLM immediately," Edgar Veron Cruz, PSFI executive director, revealed

Right from the start, PSFI's KLM had to contend with 78,000 Malaria cases In the province with an average of 100 deaths every year. 

The project's components were: early dlagnosis and prompt treatment, vector control, social mobilization and advocacy, and an information drive and communications for behavioral change.

By 2006, Malaria cases in Palawan had dropped to about 12,000, with 21 deaths. Impressed the Swiss-based Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis &Malarla, decided to support the program, which was then renamed Movement Against Malaria or MAM.

From then on, the number of Malaria cases continued to decline steadily, and what was just initiative in Palawan, became a nationwide anti-Malaria program.

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