ANGELES CITY- If there’s an Earth Hour and a National Earthquake Drill Day—both effective in raising the national consciousness on climate change and disaster preparedness—then why can’t we have a “Tepok Lamok Hour” to boost public awareness on the disease?
“Never underestimate the power of using milestones as a social mobilization tool,” Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto said in a statement yesterday.
This was done by the great Johnny Flavier, Recto said, who, “without sending a single tweet,” was able to marshal public opinion to the side of public health causes.
Flavier, who was Health secretary from 1992 to 1995, launched creative marketing drives like “Oplan Alis Disease” to promote the universal vaccination of Filipino children.
Recto said the template can be used against dengue “because for any disease, information precedes prevention, control and treatment.”
If there is a “Mosquito Awareness or Annihilation Day” or MAD or a “Tepok Lamok Hour,” it can be a big help in raising public awareness on how to avoid the disease, Recto said.
“Because in this age of social media, to defeat a virus, one’s campaign must become viral,” Recto said.
With dengue cases on the rise, Recto urged Malacañang to choose a day in the year which can be crammed with activities on how to combat the mosquito-inflicted disease, which has been classified by the Department of Health (DOH) as no longer seasonal, but year-round.
“Puno ng mga araw ng ganito at araw ng ganoon ang ating government activity calendar. May araw ng civil service, mayroong nutrition month, mayroong coastal cleanup, mayroong pambansang araw ng ganitong sektor, pati anibersaryso sa pagtatatag ng ganitong ahensya siniselebra din,” he said.
Recto credited Secretary Francisco Duque for trying to popularize the DOH “Four S” campaign against dengue, “but what it lacks, I think, is the hoopla and the relatable fanfare.”
DOH’s Four S versus dengue are “search and destroy” for mosquito- breeding sites; “self-protection measures” like wearing of right clothes and daily use of mosquito repellent; “seek early consultation”; and “support fogging or spraying” in hotspot areas to prevent an impending outbreak.
“Maganda na ang mga ito. Packaging na lang. Kung mayroong isang focal day na puno ng activities na lalahukan ng mga paaralan, opisina, pagawaan at malls, lalong tataas ang ating national DQ – dengue quotient,” he said.
“Kung mayroong isang araw na ipapakita sa tao kung paano lalabanan si Aedes Aegypti na siyang ating Public Enemy No. 1, malaking tulong ito sa overall campaign. Lalo na doon sa isyu ng kalinisan,” he said.
But Recto explained that this will only complement other measures to fight dengue and care for patients like more public hospital beds, cleaning and dredging of canals which must done throughout the year.
Recto said DOH is already observing June15 as ASEAN Dengue Day “but an Executive Order declaring a national fight dengue day or week will be better.”
In Sorsogon, Gov. Chiz Escudero has also issued an executive order declaring July 29, 2019 an “Anti-Dengue Special Working Day”.