The Kilusan Ligtas Malaria (KLM) is committed to strengthen its program to achieve its vision of a malaria-free Philippines by 2030 despite the odds brought about by the current coronavirus disease pandemic.
In the recently concluded 12th Malaria Congress on November 27, which coincided with KLM’s 20th-year anniversary, KLM, together with the Department of Health (DOH) and the Provincial Government of Palawan (PGP) amplified the call to continue the fight against the mosquito-borne infectious disease amidst the battle with COVID-19.
“Hinihingi ko po sa lahat ng mga mayor, sa lahat ng mga opisyales ng mga munisipyo at barangay, ipagpatuloy po natin ang labang ito. Marami na tayong nakuhang accomplishment, marami na tayong nagawa pero hindi pa po tapos ang laban. Wag niyo po kaming iwanan sa laban na ito hanggat di nadedeclare na malatia-free ang palawan at ang buong Pilipinas,” said Marvi Trudeau, deputy executive director of Pilipinas Shell Foundation, Inc. (PSFI) and the first program director of KLM.
The Provincial Health Office (PHO), through its officer-in-charge Dr. Faye Labrador, reiterated the importance of conducting the congress and celebrating the story of KLM despite the COVID situation.
“Importante pong may celebration tayo para magkaroon ng kamalayan ang mga mamamayan sa pagpupunyagi ng bawat isa sa atin kontra Malaria. Para makita ang tagumpay, progress, at efforts natin. Pangalawa para mapukaw ang kamalayan ng bawat isa sa kontribusyon na kanilang ginagampanan upang masolusyunan ito,” Dr. Labrador explained.
She added that it is crucial to develop our health system so that it is not only COVID-19 that will be highlighted but also other existing diseases like Malaria, Tuberculosis, etc.
At the said congress, the PSFI which pioneered KLM in Palawan in 1999, expressed their gratitude as well to the collective efforts of public and private organizations and individuals that led to the success of the program throughout the years. They gave the well-deserved recognition to the program volunteers, barangay microscopists, rural health workers, and the local government units.
Moreover, they awarded the top municipalities in Palawan with zero cases for long consecutive years and are now considered Malaria-free namely; Culion (11 years), Linapacan (8 years), Coron (7 years), and Busuanga (6 years).
Meanwhile, KLM, DOH, and PGP assured that continuous efforts will be exerted to give more focus to the top municipalities with high number of cases namely; Rizal, Brooke’s Point, Bataraza, Quezon, Puerto Princesa, and Española.
Palawan still belongs to the remaining three provinces in the country, alongside Sultan Kudarat and Occidental Mindoro to have local transmission of the disease as to this date.
The provincial government, then, encouraged locals to support the undertakings of the DOH and KLM to eradicate Malaria, and to follow protocols and measures to avoid contracting the said life-threatening disease.
“Alam nating napakahirap ng ating kinalalagyan at alam po natin na ang Malaria ay naririyan. Pero kung tayo’y sama-sama, ito po’y magiging isang hamon sa ating lahat na hindi tayo titigil hanggat ating masugpo ang Malaria sa bawat lugar,” Hon. Eduardo Rodriguez, Provinvial Board Member, Committee on Health, said.
PGP also accepted the challenge of further fostering the KLM program in Palawan by giving incentives to the barangay microscopists and frontliners who are relentlessly working to combat Malaria and by fortifying the health programs of each municipality.
The congress was participated in by all municipalities in Palawan and the city of Puerto Princesa, simultaneously, via online teleconference.