Strategies Against the Rise of Dengue Cases in the Philippines

2/23/24

dengue vaccine

In the wake of the looming threat posed by Dengue, particularly to children, a recent discussion hosted by the Vaccine Solidarity Movement (VSM) shed light on the urgent need for collective action and innovative approaches. With 2023 marking a global record year for Dengue cases, even a "slow" year for the Philippines ranked the nation third in Dengue incidents. Here are the insights shared during the "Dengue Dialogue" event, emphasizing the crucial role of public involvement and the potential game-changing solutions against this potentially fatal disease.

The Impact of Dengue in the Philippines 

Examining the data from previous Dengue outbreaks in the Philippines, particularly the record year in 2019, reveals alarming statistics – 371,717 cases with 1,407 deaths, and half of these fatalities occurring in children aged 5 to 9. The possibility of an earlier rise in cases due to El NiƱo adds to the urgency, necessitating a proactive approach to combat the disease effectively.

A Call for Collective Involvement 

Health experts stress the importance of a whole-of-nation approach in the fight against Dengue. VSM Co-Founder Amor Maclang urges active engagement from the private sector, government, and society. Examples of collaborative efforts, such as developing catchy songs to educate children about Dengue, showcase the potential impact of collective involvement. Media and journalists are also recognized for their role in raising awareness and disseminating accurate information.

A Game-Changing New Weapon

TAK-003 Vaccine Dr. Nina Gloriani, former Head of the Vaccine Expert Panel of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), introduces the TAK-003 next-generation vaccine as a powerful tool in Dengue prevention. This vaccine, licensed for use in multiple countries, can create immune responses against all four strains of the Dengue virus, potentially reducing hospitalization rates. Dr. Gloriani emphasizes the need for a well-designed communication strategy and community engagement to enhance vaccine effectiveness.

Balancing Caution and Progress 

Undersecretary of Health Eric Tayag

While acknowledging the potential of new vaccines, Undersecretary of Health Eric Tayag emphasizes the importance of a meticulous evaluation process. The Philippines' success in handling COVID-19 vaccine misinformation sets a precedent for a balanced and careful approach to introducing new vaccines. The VSM's commitment to combat Dengue echoes the nation's dedication to public health, buoyed by the success in COVID-19 vaccine administration.

Rallying for a Dengue-Free Future 

Encouraged by the success in COVID-19 vaccination, the Philippines aims to replicate its fervor in combatting Dengue. With VSM leading efforts to achieve 95% vaccine coverage, the nation is called to rally behind the Department of Health's objective. The urgency to act today is stressed, considering the promising solutions on the horizon and the need to safeguard the well-being of future generations.

As the nation faces the rise of Dengue cases, a comprehensive and collective approach is essential to combat this potentially fatal disease. The introduction of innovative solutions such as the TAK-003 vaccine provides hope, but it is imperative for the Philippines to act swiftly and decisively to protect the health of its children and future generations.