07/28/2007, 00.00
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Bells ring out to warn against dengue

by Santosh Digal
Unique initiative launched by the diocese of Jaro: from July 30 at 4 each afternoon parish bells will sound a reminder to citizens to drain the lands were the fever develops. So far this year over 1000 cases found across the country.

Iloilo City (AsiaNews) – The bells of Catholic churches in Iloilo City will be ringing daily at 4 p.m. (local time) not for any church service, but to mobilize residents in the campaign against dengue fever from July 30 onwards. “The church bells serve to remind all the people of 180 villages in the city of Iloilo to move around their community and destroy the breeding places of mosquitoes carrying the virus” Aedes aegypti, which reproduces itself in humid places, both inside and outside buildings and is responsible for the transmission of the disease.  The initiative was launched by Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).

The ringing of bells will continue “for a week from July 30 to August 6.” in response to the request of the City Mayor “to prevent the spread of dengue fever”.

The Centre for Health Development of the Department of Health (DoH) regional office reported 1,102 dengue cases that were admitted to different hospitals in Western Visayas as of July 7 this year. The figure is higher by 180 percent compared to last year's 304 cases reported in the same period.

In a curia statement entitled “Kampanya Kontra Dengue,” Msgr. Lagdameo urged for the creation of a disaster management and coordinating committee in each parish in coordination with the local government. “As we are concerned with the spiritual health of our people, so must we also be with their physical health”, concludes the diocesan circular.

The World Health Organization (WHO) believes 2007 could be on a par with 1998, when nearly 1,500 people died in Asia of the mosquito-borne disease. This year dengue has already killed more than 1,000 people in Indonesia alone. In many other places the death and infection rates through June has already surpassed the totals for 2006. Dengue fever is nowhere near as deadly as malaria, which kills an estimated 2.7 million people around the world every year, but so far, there is no known cure or vaccine to fight dengue fever.


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