Baguio to pilot test GIS-based dengue surveillance system

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BAGUIO CITY  – The city is the pilot test area of the first-ever Geographic Information System-based dengue and epidemiology system geared towards providing the public, policy-makers, and decision-makers, with a real time picture of dengue fever cases in the city’s  128 barangays.

Engr. Nathaniel Lubreca, project leader of the University of the Cordilleras (UC) dengue surveillance system team, explained putting the system into use will start in the next weeks and the pilot testing and correction of operational glitches is expected to be completed within five months.

The project is being spearheaded by the UC College of Engineering, in coordination with the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology, the Department of Health, the City Health Services Office, the Cordillera Health Research and Development Consortium, and the various universities and colleges in the region.

“We want to provide the public with a clearer picture of dengue surveillance down to the barangays for the people to know the status of dengue in specific areas. The GIS-based surveillance system will be able to identify areas where there are clustering of dengue cases and where there are outbreaks,” Lubreca stressed.

Engr. Lubreca explained the project will just serve as a start for the establishment of the system but there will also other future projects to make the system an intelligent one and conform to future with future needs.

The UC study group was granted the amount of P500,000  from the PCHRD for the implementation of the dengue surveillance system project to serve as a model for similar surveillance software in areas interested in such system for real time monitoring purposes and guidance to policy-makers and decision-makers both in the local and national levels.

Dr. Alexei Marrero, Medical Officer of the Cordillera office of the Department of Health (DOH-CAR), said this dengue surveillance system is a welcome development for the DOH as it will provide health experts a clearer picture of the prevalence of dengue cases in the different barangays and thus allow timely technical and medical assistance to those that are really in need of help from the agency.

He said the system, lodged with the DOH-CAR, will enable the office to closely monitor the prevalence of dengue fever cases in identified hot spots so that the assistance will be able to be directly given to them.

Lubreca said there will be a continuous upgrading of the surveillance system as the data gathered from the barangays will not be as accurate,  but what is important is the system is in place to serve as the basis to improve and innovate the system.

He said policy-makers and decision-makers will have an easier time making interventions in dengue-affected areas because the system will also suggest the possible recommended activities that can be made. By Dexter A. See

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