|Researchers from the Department of Science and Technology – Industrial Technology Development Institute receive their prestigious award from Civil Service Chair Francisco T. Duque III (5th from left). Proudly wearing their medals, the researchers are (from left) Maricar B. Carandang, Alicia G. Garbo, Annabelle V. Briones, Dr. Nuna E. Almanzor, Hermelina H. Bion and Josie L. Pondevida. Others in picture are Dr. Maria Luisa Salonga-Agamata (leftmost) and Comm. Robert S. Martinez (5th from left), both of the Civil Service Commission, and Tanodbayan Conchita Carpio-Morales (rightmost) of the Office of the Ombudsman. Inset: The Ovicidal-Larvicidal trap system.|
A team of researchers from the Department of Science and Technology – Industrial Technology Development Institute bagged the highly-respected Dangal ng Bayan Presidential Award which was conferred during the 114th Philippine Civil Service Anniversary last month in Malacañang Palace, Manila.
The team, composed of team leader Dr. Nuna E. Almanzor, Hermelina H. Bion, Annabelle V. Briones, Maricar B. Carandang, Alicia G. Garbo, and Josie L. Pondevida, was awarded for developing the Mosquito Ovicidal-Larvicidal (OL) trap system.
The OL trap’s major accomplishment is that it “significantly reduced mosquito densities and dengue virus transmission in various schools and communities nationwide,” according to the Civil Service Commission.
Now commercially available, the OL trap is able to contribute to the government income. Other countries with high dengue incidence have also expressed interest in the technology.
The OL trap was launched in 2011 to address the burgeoning problem of dengue infection. The DOST-ITDI OL trap research team designed the trap to detect, monitor, and control the population of the dengue-carrying Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. The trap works by attracting female mosquitoes to lay eggs on the paddle drenched with an organic solution. This solution kills the eggs and larvae, preventing mosquitoes from reaching adulthood.
The solution is potent against mosquitoes but safe for humans and animals, as it is composed of ingredients commonly used in the kitchen for food preparation.
According to the research team, the laboratory and field studies of the OL trap system has been published in the Acta Medica Philippina Volumes 46 and 47, a peer-reviewed scientific journal published by the University of the Philippines Manila and the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD).
OL trap updates
In a nationwide mosquito-reduction project with the health and education departments as DOST’s partners, the OL trap is used primarily for surveillance and in determining the mosquito population in a community. OL traps are installed in every classroom and monitored weekly for mosquito eggs and larvae. Selected faculty members, usually a science teacher or a nurse, do the monitoring and usually train students to assist them. Involving students in monitoring, according to monitors’ reports, raises their awareness and sense of responsibility early on about the hazards of dengue and how to help prevent its spread.
For the project, the DOST, from June to December 2012, produced one million OL trap kits and distributed these to all public elementary and high schools nationwide.
Soon the OL trap went beyond attracting mosquitoes to kill their next generation. In a bigger scale, it became a monitoring tool to determine weekly mosquito density. Reports from public elementary and high schools nationwide where the OL traps are installed are reflected in real time in the Dengue Vector Surveillance website.
This site, launched in 2013, is designed to alert dengue coordinators, city health officers, and other health practitioners on the mosquito density and the possibility of dengue transmission in their respective areas. The website shows a map that users can browse to get informed on the mosquito density in certain communities. It also shows corresponding action that the health department recommends, depending on the status of the alert.
Similarly, sending monitoring reports from the schools likewise became much easier. After their weekly check of the traps, school monitors send results via SMS to the dengue.ph website where results are displayed real-time. This system, implemented nationwide, continues to be a work in progress until the components are perfected.
The health department, in support to the DOST’s initiative on Aedes mosquito vector surveillance, funded the installation of OL traps in public elementary and high schools nationwide. To date, the DOST has deployed 837,897 OL traps and 10,001,896 pellet sachets in 36,676 schools nationwide.
Based on 2014 DOH-issued dengue case results, there were 73,815 suspected dengue cases from January 1 to October 4, 2014, some 56 percent lower compared with the 168,893 dengue cases in the same period last year. The report also states that most of those infected are in the 5 to 14 years age group.
The DOST OL trap system is just one of several government interventions in fighting dengue especially among children. (S&T Media Service)