SAN JOSE de BUENAVISTA, Antique (PNA) – In 2010, the village of Semirara, the biggest and richest in the island municipality of Caluya, this province was placed under the watch of no less than the World Health Organization (WHO) after it was declared as malaria-infested.
Since then, there had been no recorded case of malaria, thus, it is now safe to declare the village as malaria-free, Dr. Ric Noel Naciongayo, Integrated Provincial Health Officer (IPHO) II of the province of Antique, said.
The last case was reported in 2010. The disease was endemic in three villages in the island, namely Barangay (village) Semirara proper, Barangay Allegria and Barangay Tinugbok.
Total eradication was due to the partnership of the Department of Health (DOH)office in Region 6, the provincial government of Antique, the Municipal Health Office and the Local Government Unit (LGU)of Caluya, officials of the village of Semirara, the Semirara Mining and Power Corporation (SMPC) and the residents, Naciongayo said.
”They had been working very hard to attain zero-new malaria cases, and as of December 31, 2015, there had been no recurrence,” he said.
Meanwhile, WHO continues to monitor the situation in the area through their team evaluators, who are scheduled to visit Antique and Semirara Island before end-2016 to check for evidences on the non-recurrence of malaria in the last five years.
All stakeholders in the island have continuously exerted effort to ensure the non-recurrence of the disease by doing indoor residual spraying twice a year and distribution of insecticide-treated mosquito nets to all households, particularly to those that have no protective screens on their windows and doors.
Naciongayo urges the people to continue holding activities that will prevent the re-appearance of the disease as these had been proven to be effective.
In the past, people believed that malaria-bearing mosquitoes came from the nearby islands of Mindoro and Palawan since these are the places that people from Semirara Island had easier access to.