A delegation from the World Health Organization recently visited the city and paid a courtesy call to Mayor Lucilo Bayron due to concerns about the clustering of malaria cases in Barangay Irawan, which was recorded between April and June.

Mayor Bayron said on Monday that one of the focuses of the visit by the representatives from the United Nations’ specialized agency was regarding the occurrence of 31 malaria cases in Barangay Irawan.

“Yong mga representatives ng WHO bumisita rin sa atin, dala ni Dr. Ric Panganiban, kasi concerned sila sa malaria cases natin. Hindi naman masyadong marami sa atin, di ba? Mas marami sa Southern Palawan municipalities, pero kasi dati konting konti na lang ang malaria natin — but medyo dumami ngayon,” he said.

Dr. Panganiban, however, said that the WHO team, accompanied by representatives from the DOH, came to assess the malaria management situation not only in the city but also in the entire province, given that Palawan is the only area in the Philippines with reported cases.

He informed that Irawan had initially reported 31 cases of malaria. However, due to the swift actions taken by its officials, the barangay is currently reporting zero cases.

“The target is to eliminate malaria, or achieve zero malaria cases in the long-term. Sa Mimaropa, alam naman natin na Palawan contributes the highest cases — they’re here to suggest how to win the fight. They also know about the cases in Irawan and they are aware that we had cases in June,” said Dr. Panganiban.

Last week, the DOH reported the detection of a clustering of malaria cases, and out of the total number of cases 55% (17 patients) were females, and the majority, 24 patients, originated from Zone 14 of Irawan. The health department said that this zone accounted for the highest number of patients among the five puroks in the barangay.

DOH added that the affected patients in this malaria cluster range from less than 1 month old to 50 years old. These patients were identified after experiencing symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, body malaise, fever, and epigastric pain.

As of July 5, the DOH confirmed that all patients have successfully recovered from the illness.