Press Release
June 25, 2012

Legarda Stresses Effect of Climate Change
on Spread of Dengue, Other Diseases

Senator Loren Legarda, alarmed at the continued rise in the number of dengue cases in the Philippines, again stressed that climate change is a major factor in the increase of deaths due to various illnesses.

Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change, noted a study, Climate Vulnerability Monitor 2010, which revealed that it is not disasters but diseases that cause the most number of deaths by climate change.

"Climate change, especially in tropical countries like the Philippines, creates more rainfall and warmer temperatures. Coupled with the worsening solid waste management problem in our cities, we have conditions that provide optimal breeding for disease-carrying mosquitoes," she explained.

According to the Department of Health, there have been 32,193 cases of dengue infection documented between January and June this year. This is a figure 3.89 percent higher than the 30,989 cases recorded in the same period last year. The National Capital Region had 7,670 cases, Central Luzon had 5, 552 cases, and CALABARZON had 4, 508 cases.

"There is a wider trend here which the public must be made aware of. These global trends in weather conditions are already manifesting their effects on our very doorsteps, and with the increase in percentage of dengue cases this year, it is clear that we need to do more and act fast," she stressed.

Legarda, in an earlier statement, urged the Department of Health (DOH) to strengthen its initiatives on disease and health surveillance and enhance its awareness campaigns on climate-sensitive diseases, not limited to dengue but including other major diseases related to climate change.

"The same report revealed that each year, 350,000 people die because of health hazards related to climate change, like pulmonary infections, malaria, cholera, heatstroke, and skin infections. If we remain complacent, climate change will claim at least 800,000 deaths per year by 2030," she said.

"What we are seeing here are the fundamental links among climate conditions, the ecosystem, and the impact that human beings are making on the environment. Our measures must address all of these facets of the problem. A safe and healthy future depends on a good combination of education and action," Legarda concluded.

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