Just two months after health officials in Davao Oriental in the southern Philippines declared the province free of the mosquito borne parasitic diseases, malaria and filariasis, the northern Mindanao province of Lanao del Norte has followed suit and been declared malaria-free.
The province has not recorded a indigenous malaria case in five years and was awarded Malaria-free seal for achieving zero incidence of malaria cases earlier this week, which was signed by Health Secretary Janette Loreto-Garin, according to local media.
“This is the end result of all the hard work and determination of our stakeholders particularly the Malaria Team, PHO personnel, RHU, and municipal government units. We also recognize the steadfast support of Governor Mohamad Khalid Dimaporo, who inspired us to complete this herculean task,” said Provincial Health Officer Jamaica Dimaporo.
The Asia Pacific Malaria Elimination Network says although malaria has been delisted from the top 10 leading causes of morbidity in the Philippines beginning 2008, it remains a public health problem that continues to threaten the lives of about 12.0 million Filipinos in the 58 malaria endemic provinces.
In 2010, approximately 64 percent of cases were due to Plasmodium falciparum and 15 percent were due to P. vivax. Malaria deaths have declined by 99 percent between 1999 and 2011, from 755 to only 10.
Although 80 percent of the population is at risk for malaria transmission, only seven percent is considered at high risk.