PUERTO PRINCESA, Palawan – The World Health Organization (WHO) has expressed concern over an apparent surge in malaria cases in this city and other parts of Palawan province.
Mayor Lucilo Bayron said Monday a WHO delegation has visited the city to assess the reported outbreak, accompanied by Department of Health (DOH) representatives.
He disclosed that members of the delegation came to his office to discuss the clustering of malaria cases in Barangay Irawan from April to June.
Bayron explained that the visitors from WHO were particularly concerned over the 31 malaria cases recorded in the barangay over the three months.
“Malaria is still more prevalent in Southern Palawan municipalities. However, while in the past we have seen a steady decline in malaria cases in the city, now it seems to be rising again,” he said in Filipino.
City Health Office (CHO) chief, Dr. Ric Panganiban, meanwhile, said the WHO delegation came to assess the malaria management situation not only in the city but also in the entire province, given that Palawan is the only area in the Philippines with reported cases.
He pointed out that because of the CHO’s swift response to the 31 cases in Irawan, all the patients managed to recover from the tropical disease carried by mosquitoes.
"The target is to eliminate malaria or achieve zero malaria cases in the long term. In Mimaropa, (it is) well known that Palawan contributes the highest cases (of malaria) – they (WHO delegation) are here to suggest how to win the fight. They also know about the cases in Irawan and they are aware that we had cases in June," Panganiban said.
Last week, the DOH reported the clustering of malaria cases in the village, which has a population of 8,784 as of the 2020 census.
The health department said out of the total number of cases, 55 percent (17 patients) were female, and the majority (24 patients) originated from Zone 14 of Irawan village.
It said this zone accounted for the highest number of patients among the five "purok" in the barangay.
It was further disclosed that the age of malaria patients ranged from about one-month-old to 50 years old. (PNA)