CLASSIC skirts worn by female students should be replaced with pants if UST health officials have their way, all because of a mosquito bite.

The UST Health Service wants the uniforms of female Thomasians replaced as part of its anti-dengue campaign this rainy season.

“We are reiterating our request to the academic officials to redesign the uniforms of our female students (by allowing them to wear pants),” said Dr. Maria Salve Olalia, Health Service director.

Olalia said female students wearing skirts are most vulnerable to dengue since the low-flying insect usually bites the legs.

In any case, students should use mosquito-repellant lotions, the Health Service said.

Seven colleges and faculties in the University prescribe skirts as female uniforms. These are the Colleges of Commerce, Education, Nursing, Rehabilitation Sciences, Science, and the Faculties of Pharmacy and Arts and Letters. The Institute of Tourism and Hospitality Management also asks female students to wear skirts.

College student councils expressed support for Olalia’s suggestion.

Artlets Student Council president Eddrex Valenzuela welcomed Olalia’s idea even as he admitted changing female Artlets’ uniforms will not be an easy job.

“The decision (to change the uniform) should come from the students, faculty, and the administration,” Valenzuela said.

Commerce Student Council President Antonio Junimar Esteban said factors like the cost of the change in uniforms should be considered.

“The uniforms should be affordable and economically-friendly for students,” Esteban said.

The Health Service has continuously observed precautionary measures against dengue such as the fogging of University campus against disease-carrying mosquitoes last summer.

Ang 'problema' sa pagtulong sa problema

Olalia said that since April, fogging inside UST has not stopped after larvitrapping operations showed positive results for mosquito larvae.

Larvitrapping is a simulation done to determine the presence of larvae, the worm-like stage of insects before evolving as adults, colloquially known in the country as kiti-kiti.

The simulation is important since it will determine if fogging is necessary.

Saying “NO” to indiscriminate fogging is part of the Department of Health (DOH)’s “4-S Against Dengue” program, which also includes the searching and destroying of breeding places of mosquitoes, self-protection, and the seeking of immediate treatment for those who have symptoms of dengue.

“We fogged in the last weekend of May and in the first three weeks of June,” Olalia said. “The result after the last fogging was negative for larvae.”

Figures from DOH have showed a 42.8-percent increase in the number of dengue cases in the country.

The DOH recorded a total of 15,537 dengue cases from January to June this year, compared to the 10,000 cases during the same period last year.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the highest number of dengue cases was recorded in the National Capital Region (NCR).

“Valenzuela, Caloocan, Parañaque, Manila, and Quezon City account for the highest percentage of the recorded number of dengue cases in NCR,” Duque told the Varsitarian during the launching of the “Sight-Saving Month” in the UST Hospital last August 5.

Duque said he expects the number of cases to increase as the rainy season reaches its peak.


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