BACOLOD CITY – The Negros Occidental Provincial Health Office (PHO) is pushing for long-term efforts to prevent cholera as cases of the acute diarrheal illness continue to increase in some parts of the province.

From zero incidence in 2021, the third district, where the cases are concentrated, has reported a total of 28 confirmed cases, including two deaths, as of Nov. 7, data on Wednesday showed.

Of the total cases, Talisay City has 13; Silay City, eight with one death; E.B. Magalona, six with one death; and Victorias City, has one case.

Dr. Ernell Tumimbang, provincial health officer, said there should be a strong monitoring and surveillance system, especially in areas that have increasing cases to stop the transmission.

“We should zero in on long-term prevention,” he told reporters.

Tumimbang said one of the strategies is to campaign for zero open defecation to cut the cycle of transmission, particularly among low-income households in thickly-populated areas, and even seaside barangays that cannot afford to build toilets.

Tumimbang noted the focus should also be on preventive measures in food transmission that should include requiring health and sanitary permits for those preparing food, especially for schools since face-to-face classes have already resumed.

Operations of water refilling stations that serve as a source of potable water should also be regulated properly, he added.

Last week, the provincial government formed the Food and Drinking Water Quality Monitoring Committee (FDWQMC) as a response to the increasing cases of food and water-borne illnesses.

The Provincial FDWQMC aims to assist the LGUs still without local monitoring committees to create their own as well as provide consultation, technical assistance, and training. (PNA)