South Cotabato provides dengue rapid test

Koronadal City—After 15 minutes, South Cotabato Provincial Hospital confirms a dengue case. A rapid test is implemented at the province public hospital to provide immediate clinical management to a patient.

Jovie Eborde, Provincial Hospital Administrative Officer, said the hospital purchased NS1 antigen test to provide immediate detection of dengue on the first day of fever.

“Since the hospital is flocked with dengue patients all year round, the administration decided to purchase antigen to ensure that we can easily detect the virus,” Eborde said during a press conference held Tuesday.

NS1 is a dengue test kit which was introduced by India in 2010.

South Cotabato declared a state of calamity because of the dengue outbreak. There is 91 barangay affected with dengue virus in the province. Among these barangays, 18 areas are considered hotspots.

Provincial Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (PESU) reported 3664 dengue as of July 21. The number is 153 percent higher compared to the same period last year. PESU recorded that dengue cases this year is 65 percent higher during the 2016 dengue outbreak. However, the disease surveillance team warned the public that there are four strains of dengue virus in South Cotabato.

Celia Lorenzo, Disease Surveillance Officer, said that among the 21 persons who died because of dengue, 11 were adults. Most of the victims who died have sought a late medical intervention.

“Most of them have visited the hospital after five days since they experienced fever,” Lorenzo said.

Dr. Alah Baby Vingno, Asst. Provincial Health Officer, recommended to the Provincial Disaster Reduction and Mangement Council the purchase of dengue antigen. Rural health units and all government hospitals in the province will be provided with antigen to enable early clinical management among patients.

Under the Quick Response Fund, the province will be spending at least P15M. A negotiated bidding is allowed to fast track purchases and assures the public that the dengue virus could not spread widely, PDRR Operations and Warning Head Rolley Doane Aquino explained.

“We will provide cash assistance for dengue victims,” Aquino said.

As early as February this year, the Integrated Provincial Health Office released an advisory that encourages all government hospital to establish dengue fast lane.

At the Provincial Hospital, a special tag is put on a suspected dengue patient to ensure that there is faster delivery of services from the laboratory and pharmacy.

“There is a special ward for dengue patients to contain the dengue virus,” Vingno said.

Meanwhile, the Blood Council in South Cotabato activates its function to manage the supply of blood.

“This is to strengthen the coordination and networking of blood service facilities in the province, especially this time that we need enough supply of blood because of the increasing number of dengue cases,” Vingno said.