The Archdiocese of Piura in northern Peru donated thousands of doses of medication May 30 to the government’s Regional Health Directorate (DIRESA) to combat the epidemic of dengue fever that has affected almost all regions of the country, especially Lambayeque and Piura.
Dengue is a virus that is transmitted to humans through mosquitoes and can cause nausea, fever, pain, and in severe cases, internal bleeding and death.
“In the face of these terrible moments that our region is experiencing, the love of Christ impels us, and since man is the pathway of the Church, we are committed to contributing in this difficult hour to reduce the suffering of our brothers suffering from dengue and to avoid more deaths to mourn,” Archbishop José Antonio Eguren of Pirua said on May 30.
A press release from the archdiocese states that thanks to the contribution of Caritas Peru, 15,000 paracetamol pills, 1,140 bottles of oral rehydration serum, and 1,000 units of insect repellent were donated for the poorest patients. The delivery was made in a ceremony held at the premises of DIRESA’s central warehouse in Piura.
According to the National Center for Epidemiology, Disease Prevention and Control of the Ministry of Health (Minsa), as of May 29, 111,085 cases were reported nationwide with 153 deaths and 1,212 people hospitalized.
Just four and a half months into 2023, the figures are 27.82% higher than the 68,290 infections diagnosed in 2017 and 38.19% higher than those reported in 2022 (63,168), years in which dengue infection reached its highest levels.
According to data from the Regional Health Directorate (DIRESA), Piura is the region in which in recent days dengue cases have increased, reaching a total of 34,038 infected people and 40 deaths among children, adolescents, and the elderly, making Piura the region with the most deaths nationwide.
Dr. Myrian Fiestas Mogollón, director general of DIRESA-Piura, expressed her gratitude for “the new delivery of aid that will allow us to continue fighting against dengue, which is greatly affecting especially the child and adolescent population.”
“We will not shrink back in our fight. I would like to take this opportunity to send a message to all citizens: We must take great care of ourselves, we mustn’t be self confident, we must provide facilities for fumigation personnel, use repellent, and avoid at all times storing water in tanks that are outdoors, because they can become breeding sites of the mosquito,” the doctor said May 30.
On the day of the delivery, Archbishop Eguren called on all institutions, private companies, and people of goodwill to collaborate in the effort and send their donations.
“I reiterate my call and thus together we can stop the alarming increase in infections due to dengue and defeat once and for all this terrible disease that continues to threaten the health of the people of Piura and [cause] so much pain in families. It’s urgent that we all join together. Let’s defeat dengue together,” he said.
On May 31, Eguren encouraged the faithful of the archdiocese “to pray the holy rosary daily so that through the intercession of Our Lady of Mercy, our mother and patroness, her Son, the Lord Jesus, may free us from this epidemic, heal our sick, and give eternal life to those who died due to this serious disease.”
“Let us go with confidence to our mother in heaven through the powerful prayer of the holy rosary, a prayer so dear to her, and of proven effectiveness in the most difficult trials of life,” he exhorted.
Recently, the Medical College of Peru announced that the dengue epidemic “is expanding and overflowing” throughout the country.
“We express deep concern about the expansion and overflow of the dengue epidemic in Peru, because day by day the number of people who are infected increases and the number of deaths increases alarmingly,” the institution said on May 19.
César Munayco, director general of the National Center for Epidemiology, Disease Prevention and Control, said at a May 24 press conference that of the 20 departments (administrative districts) affected by the dengue epidemic, six continue to have an increase in cases: Callao, Lima, Ica, La Libertad, Lambayeque, and Piura.
The head of the Ministry of Health, Rosa Gutiérrez, reported that the departments with a decrease in cases are Ayacucho, Cusco, Huánuco, Loreto, Madre de Dios, Pasco, and Ucayali.
Munayco added that cases remain level in Amazonas, Ancash, Cajamarca, Junín, Puno, San Martín, and Tumbes, with no increases or decreases.