Project Matyag teaches Antipolo household heads vector control, disease surveillance
IN PHOTO: Mothers examine adult Aedes aegypti mosquitoes under a microscope.

Project Matyag trained nearly a hundred mothers on vector control and disease surveillance in a community engagement activity last September 14, 2019 at the Area Dela Paz covered court in Brgy. Cupang, Antipolo City, Rizal.

Brgy. Cupang has the highest incidence of dengue and dengue-related deaths in the municipality in 2018 according to the Antipolo City Health Office.

Operating on a move type system, the community learning event was divided into four different stations designed to increase participants’ knowledge on mosquito vector control and improve their health-seeking behavior with professional medical practitioners.

In the first station, Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) Department of Medical Entomology Senior Science Research Specialist Richard Paul Malijan and Entomologist Mary Ann Ammugauan discussed the life cycle and behavior of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, the primary carrier of dengue, zika, and chikungunya viruses. With microscopes in tow, participants were able to take a closer look at larval and adult Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, as well as similar mosquito species Aedes albopictus.

A separate station made use of team games to increase their intention to work with the community to ensure good health.

IN PHOTO: Participants move across four different stations centered on different aspects of vector control and disease surveillance.

Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) Department of Medical Entomology Head Dr. Ferdinand Salazar popularized the science behind the Push-Pull Vector Control Strategy, which makes use of spatial repellents and BG-Sentinel™ traps to respectively drive away mosquitoes from homes and lure them into an enclosure. Antipolo City Health Office Disease Surveillance Officer Alireza Faiyaz also shared his field experience in controlling mosquito vectors.

Lastly, World Health Organization – West Pacific Region (WPRO) Country Technical Officer and former Research Institute for Tropical Medicine Surveillance and Response Unit Head Rowena Capistrano and Department of Health CALABARZON Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit Coordinator John Bobbie Roca emphasized the importance of seeking early consultation in curbing the occurrence of disease outbreaks. They also discussed the signs and symptoms of three of the most common diseases in the area: dengue; measles; and hand, foot, and mouth disease.

The event was host to a total of 99 participants, mainly household primary healthcare givers, which are mostly mothers. Barangay Health Workers and Sitio Chairpersons were also in attendance.

This community engagement activity is part of the initiatives spearheaded by Project Matyag, a DOH-RITM funded project that aims to communicate RITM published research outputs to laypeople, and increase compliance in disease surveillance system. The pilot study used in the activity was Dr. Salazar et al.’s “Evaluation of a peridomestic mosquito trap for integration into an Aedes aegypti (Diptera: Culicidae) push-pull control strategy” published in the Journal of Vector Ecology in 2012.

The project is set to conduct another activity targeted towards Rizal health officers — particularly barangay health workers, disease surveillance officers and coordinators, hospital administrators, and health policymakers — to increase the province’s disease reporting compliance to the Philippine Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (PIDSR) System.

Project Matyag is an epidemiology communication campaign project initiated by RITM-CEO in collaboration with the University of the Philippines Los Baños Foundation Inc. (UPLBFI) and UPLB College of Development Communication’s Department of Science Communication.

by Eunice Brito, Project Matyag, Research Assistant