We have been educated using the English language. Our brains are already wired into the pattern of the English language when we make inquiries. The English language pattern starts with the questions. What, How, When, Where, etc. and the Why question is at the last or not asked at all. I have read thousands of theses and dissertations and I have not encountered a research that tackled the question why?
The Sugboanon Bisaya language is different. The basic question is Why (Ngano)? It is then followed by What (Unsa), How (Giunsa), etc. If your thinking pattern is in English you will have difficulty in following the Bisayan thinking pattern. However, if you have mastered the Sugbuanon grammar, with its more than 4,000 affixes, you will notice that answering the Why question will be very easy.
On the rise
You will read in newspapers and hear on the radio and television that dengue fever is on the rise. You are given the number of cases and the number of deaths but none will give the reason why dengue fever is on the rise. It is simply because the question why is not part of the repertoire of the English questions.
What I proposed is to take the Bisayan language as the frame of reference and ask the question why? You will notice that the direction of the inquiry will be different and you will try to solve a different aspect of the problem.
The dengue fever (Bis: hilanat-kutikuti) is known to be transmitted by the mosquito known as aedes. The popular reaction of our English wired brain is to kill the aedes mosquitoes. If you are wired in Binisayâ you will find that this approach is wrong.
In the 1920s the Americans established the Bohol Agricultural Colony, which is now the Municipality of Dagohoy. The land was surveyed and subdivided into 12 to 24 hectare homestead-farms.
Families from all over the Philippines were invited to settle in the Agricultural Colony and were promised to be given homestead lots, a native house, farm implements, and carabaos. There were only very few takers in the beginning. Why? It was because the area was malaria infested.
The Americans had the experience on how to eradicate mosquitoes from the building of the Panama Canal where the yellow fever was prevalent.
The colony was sprayed with chemicals to eliminate the mosquitoes. Some families came but to the surprise of the Americans many still became sick with malaria.
The Americans then ask the last question, why? A theory was then proposed that the native carabaos and the wild pigs were hosts or carriers of the malaria virus. The mosquitoes were almost eradicated but the remaining few can still transmit the malaria virus from the carriers to the human beings.
The solution was to kill the native carabaos and replaced them with carabaos imported from Borneo. It is the reason why the carabaos in Bohol look different from the carabaos in Luzon. The horns of Boholano carabaos have a narrower spread compared to that of Luzon carabaos.
The wild pigs were not a problem because the settlers eat pigs and the wild pigs were hunted to extinction.
There is no proof whether the native carabaos were malaria carriers but their replacement solved the problem. The Agricultural Colony became a success.
The aedes mosquito that is the vector or transmitter of the dengue virus has only a life span of two weeks to one month. If the mosquito is infected with the dengue virus, for sure the virus will die when the mosquito will die. The new mosquitoes that will hatch will not have the dengue virus.
The question is, why do the mosquito viruses still exist when they would have died with the infected mosquitoes? So the problem is not in the mosquito. The problem is in the unidentified host or carrier of the viruses.
The new mosquitoes will bite the host and becomes infected and will transmit the virus to humans that they in turn will bite. Therefore if we cannot eliminate the host, then we cannot solve the problem of the dengue fever.
The question is why are we not looking for the host or carrier of the dengue viruses?
Searching for the host
A host or carrier is a human being or animal that carries the dengue virus in their blood streams but they themselves do not get sick.
Is the host a person, a dog, a cat, a carabao, or whatever? If we cannot identify the host then all our efforts of treating those who are sick of dengue fever will be an endless endeavor.
There are now available tests to determine whether a blood sample is carrying a dengue virus. Why not focus our labors in identifying the host and isolate them?
The dengvaxia immunization is not good because it will be effective only if you have been infected before and cured of the dengue fever. How about those who have never been sick with dengue fever? They are still at risk.
When the SARS or bird flu broke out in Hong Kong, our authorities were scanning all new arrivals from Hong Kong to determine whether they are carriers. Why can’t we make a test in our own place to determine the host?