DOH-10 Regional Director Nimfa Torrizo (left) officially unveils the Malaria-Free Zone seal during the awarding ceremony held on June 7 at MCC Hotel, Tubod Town. Assisting her in the unveiling is Vice-Governor Cristy Atay.

Tubod, Lanao del Norte – In a simple awarding ceremony held at Mindanao Civic Center (MCC) Hotel, Brgy. Pigacarangan, Tubod town, the Department of Health-Region 10 led by its Director Nimfa Torrizo gave the province of Lanao del Norte the Malaria-free seal for achieving zero incidence of Malaria cases.

The awarding ceremony was kicked off by a motorcade from the Provincial Capitol complex to the MCC Hotel in Brgy. Sagadan, both in the capital town Tubod.

The Declaration seal was signed by DOH Secretary Janette Loreto-Garin after its verification confirming that there is no indigenous case of malaria in Lanao del Norte for the past five years.

The last reported case of malaria was last 2007 in the interior municipality of Magsaysay. The lessons learned by the malaria workers in the province especially in the prevention and control, diagnosis and treatment were vital ingredients in the eventual elimination of the disease.

“This is the end result of all the hardwork and determination of our stakeholders particularly the Malaria Team, PHO personnel, RHU, and municipal government units. We also recognize the steadfast support of Governor Mohamad Khalid Dimaporo who inspired us to complete this herculean task”, said Provincial Health Officer (PHO) Jamaica Dimaporo.

During the ceremony, Dr. Dimaporo also presented the strategies used and steps taken to attain a Malaria-free Lanao Del Norte.

As of today Malaria remains endemic in 65 of the 78 provinces, 760 of 1,600 municipalities and 9,345 of the 42,979 barangays nationwide. An estimated 11 million Filipinos especially those living in remote barangays are the most susceptible to the malaria infection.

“We need to remain vigilant and not let our guard down because just a single malaria-infected person visiting your province could potentially result to hundreds more to become infected (imported case). And those new cases are now already considered endemic. This means that your province will lose its Malaria-free status that you all worked very hard to achieved”, urge Regional Director Torrizo.

During her inspirational talk, Vice-Governor Cristy Atay, congratulated the health sector of Lanao del Norte for its latest accomplishment and encouraged them to continue improving healthcare services in the province.

The final evaluation of Lanao del Norte was conducted on September 28 to October 2, 2015 by a team from DOH Central Office led by Norma Joson. The team monitored the endemic municipalities and hospitals and evaluated the epidemiological data, investigation reports, diagnostic capabilities, malaria drugs availability, surveillance capacities and response system through the Malaria Elimination Hub created under Executive Order No. 17, series 2015.

On May 31, 2016, DOH-10 led by Assistant Regional Director Adrian Suba-an finally unveiled the Seal of Malaria-Free Lanao del Norte 2015 to Governor Dimaporo. Witnessing the unveiling were PHO Jamaica Dimaporo, Engr. George Demavivas, PHO Malaria Elimination Hub Members, Chief of Hospitals and other provincial employees.

The Malaria-Free Zone seal was officially unveiled to the entire health sector of Lanao del Norte on June 7 led by DOH-10 Director Torrizo and assisted by Vice-Governor Atay.

Participants to the awarding rites also signed their commitment of support to maintain the Malaria-free status of Lanao del Norte.

Certificates of Recognition were also given to members of Malaria Team for their efforts to get this seal.

According to DOH RO-10 Vector-Borne Disease Program Head Josephine Ibalio, now that Lanao del Norte has been declared as malaria-free, the focus now should be on preventing the reintroduction of transmission and keeping the malaria-free seal of the province.

Attending the awarding rites were personnel from the DOH RO-10, PHO, MHO’s, Medical Technologists, Surveillance Officers, provincial and municipal employees.

Lanao del Norte has been a recipient of two DILG awards – Seal of Good Housekeeping and Seal of Good Governance. Both awards testify of good governance and quality public service being delivered here in this province. VNL/PIO- LDN & MAD/PHO – LDN