Community workers of the Kilusan Ligtas Malaria (KLM) visit an upland indigenous community in southern Palawan to conduct information campaign and blood smearing for malaria parasite activities. (Photo courtesy of KLM/PHO/ File photo))

The Palawan Provincial Health Office (PHO) is optimistic that malaria cases will significantly drop in the province this year.

Provincial health officer Dr. Mary Ann Navarro said Monday that her office is eyeing this 2019 a 20 percent drop in last year’s 4,162 malaria cases.

“Dapat kasi talaga 20 percent ang decrease natin per year kaya lang noong 2018 tumaas tayo. Mataas talaga ang kaso natin lalo na sa maraming indigenous peoples (IPs), palipat-lipat din kasi sila. Dapat kasi tayo ang nag-a-adjust sa culture nila hindi ‘yong sila ang nag-a-adjust sa atin (Our target is to decrease cases by 20 percent per year but in 2018 there was an increase again. Our cases were high in areas where there are indigenous peoples (IP) who constantly move from one place to another. We should be the one adjusting to their culture and not the other way around),” she said.

Malaria cases in Palawan reached 4,162 in 2018 which was higher than the 3,824 cases recorded in 2017 during the same period.

PHO records also showed a significant decrease in the number of cases of the mosquito-borne disease from 2015 to 2017.

DOH recently announced that it is expecting the MIMAROPA region to be declared “malaria-free by 2025.”

“Kaya ‘yang maaabot sa 2025. Sa ngayon very active naman tayo [against malaria] nandiyan ang ating mga microscopists at ang iba pang kasama natin para umakyat sa mga bundok para puntahan ang mga katutubo (We can reach that target in 2025. Right now, were very active agains malaria and our microscopists and other partners are there to hike to the mountains to reach our IPs),” she added.

As part of efforts to stop the mosquito-borne disease, the Kilusan Ligtas Malaria (KLM) in partnership with Pilipinas Shell Foundation Incorporated (PSFI) will construct 11 halfway treatment centers for malaria patients in Rizal town.

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is the chief of correspondents of Palawan News. She covers defense, politics, tourism, health, and sports stories. She loves to travel and explore different foods.