NEW BUILDING FOR HEALTH CARE. Department of Health officer-in-charge, Ma. Rosario Singh-Vergeire (center), leads the inauguration of Puerto Galera Rural Health Unit on Thursday (Feb. 2, 2023). She underscored the need to build and strengthen the provision of health care and sustain the gains achieved by the province to prevent re-establishment of malaria transmission. (Photo courtesy of DOH CHD-Mimaropa)

CALAPAN CITY, Oriental Mindoro – The Department of Health (DOH) on Thursday declared this province malaria-free after the review and recommendation of the National Malaria Elimination and Control Technical Working Group.

Before this, Oriental Mindoro has completed and satisfied all the requirements under DOH Department Circular No. 2021-0249 which provides the guidelines for attaining the health declaration.

DOH officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire, in her congratulatory message on Thursday during her visit here, thanked all technical and administrative staff, healthcare workers, volunteers, and partners at the regional, provincial, municipal, and barangay levels who have made the elimination of malaria in the province possible.

"We wish to congratulate all of you for this milestone, but our work does not end here, as the gains achieved by the province must be maintained to prevent re-establishment of transmission through several strategies such as maintained functionality of the provincial elimination hub to undertake malaria surveillance and response, health promotion, malaria case management including orientation of front-line providers and vector control, and other on-the-ground measures that need to be sustained." said Vergeire.

Vergeire graced the inauguration of the new Rural Health Unit building in the town of Puerto Galera.

Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by parasites transmitted to people through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes.

According to the DOH, the symptoms usually start approximately nine to 14 days after the bite of an infective mosquito. However, in some types of malaria, the symptoms may appear one to several months after the infective mosquito bite.

Symptoms include high fever, headache, chills and shivers, nausea and vomiting. In severe form, it may include severe vomiting and diarrhea, generalized convulsion, delirium and impaired consciousness, followed by coma and possibly death.

The country is aiming to be declared malaria-free by 2030, according to a previous DOH statement. (PNA)