DOH belies bribery allegations by families of Dengvaxia vaccinees

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 12, 2019   •   1598

Families of children who had Dengvaxia vaccine rally in front of the Department of Health in Manila, 01 October 2018. (Photoville International)

The Department of Health (DOH) has belied the accusation made by families of Dengvaxia vaccinees that they received a P50,000 bribe from the department.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III clarified that the P50,000 financial assistance did not come from the DOH.

“Iyang ayuda na iyan galing iyan sa Office of the President so hindi iyan galing sa DOH. Ito lamang ay dahil sa malasakit ng Pangulong Duterte para sa mga magulang na namatayan at gumastos para sa kanilang wake at paglibing at mga iba pang mga gastusin (That assistance came from the Office of the President, not the DOH. It was borne out of President Duterte’s concern for the parents of alleged Dengvaxia victims who had to pay for the wake, burial and other expenses),” he said.

This was after reports that several families of the Dengvaxia vaccinees are accusing the DOH of bribery after the department has offered them P50,000 financial assistance.

Several of them said they were asked to submit original documents and other information. They think these would be used as evidence in order to bring back the use of Dengvaxia amid the rise of dengue cases.—AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

Expect surge in COVID-19 cases as test results from over 30 labs are delayed – DOH

Marje Pelayo   •   September 9, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) sees a surge in the number of cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the coming days as over 30 laboratories in the country are still yet to submit their respective cases bulletin to the agency. 

The DOH said 34 out of the 115 licensed testing laboratories have delayed results in their COVID-19 tests. 

“This means there are confirmed cases per day that have not been reported yet officially and will come out this week,” said Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.

“We may have an irregularly high number of cases in the coming days as cases from these laboratories get reported. We will ensure to highlight which of these cases are late reports,” she added.

The DOH points at incomplete information such as patients’ address and contact number as the cause of the delays in submitting their case bulletins. 

Such information is vital to the contract tracing efforts of the government. 

On September 1, the DOH required the testing laboratories to encode all information of their patients because the agency’s COVID-19 Data Repository System does not accept incomplete information.

“The main factor was the change in or the additional two variables–the complete address and the phone numbers that were stated to be mandatory,” Vergeire said.

“Hindi makakapasok or makaka-upload sa system noong kanilang submission if hindi kumpleto ang kanilang fields doon sa kanilang CIFs na isa-submit sa atin [They will not be able to enter or upload their submission into our system if the fields in the CIFs are incomplete],” she stressed.

Nonetheless, the official confirmed that the results have been gradually coming in from the concerned laboratories since Tuesday (September 8).

Once the results from these laboratories are submitted, expect an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in the DOH’s overall tally.

Should these laboratories still fail to submit their reports next week, Vergeire said the DOH will push to sanction them. 

34 Labs failed to submit their data to the COVID-19 Data Repository System 

1. AL Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory

2. Amosup Seamen’s Hospital

3. Bohol Containerized PCR Laboratory

4. Butuan Medical Center

5. Cagayan Valley CHD TB Reference Laboratory

6. Calamba Medical Center

7. Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital

8. Dagupan Doctors Villaflor Memorial Hospital

9. Daniel O. Mercado Medical Center

10. Detoxicare Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory

11. Dr. Arturo P. Pingoy Medical Center

12. Fe Del Mundo Medical Center

13. Green City Medical Center

14. Hi-Precision Diagnostics  QC

15. Ilocos Training Regional Medical Center (GX)

16. Marikina Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory

17. Marilao Medical and Diagnostic Clinic

18. NKTI – GX

19. Philippine Airport Diagnostic Laboratory

20. Philippine Heart Center

21. Philippine Red Cross

22. Philippine Red Cross – Clark Mol Lab (PAMPANGA)

23. Philippine Red Cross – Logistics and Training- SUBIC, ZAMBALES

24. Philippine Red Cross – Molecular Biology Laboratory

25. Philippine Red Cross – PLMC Laboratory

26. Philippine Red Cross – Port Area

27. Qualimed Hospital – San Jose del Monte

28. Qualimed Hospital Sta. Rosa

29. Safeguard DNA Diagnostics

30. San Lazaro Hospital

31. San Miguel Foundation Testing Laboratory

32. The Doctors Hospital, Inc.

33. Tondo Medical Center

34. University of Perpetual Help System Dalta

SOURCE: DOH

MNP (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

Pasyenteng hindi makakabayad ng bill, bawal pigilang lumabas ng ospital – DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   September 8, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Pina-alalahanan ng Department of Health (DOH) ang mga ospital sa bansa na hindi maaaring pigilin ang paglabas ng isang pasyente na kulang ang pera o walang maipambayad sa ospital.

Ayon kay Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, sang-ayon ito sa Republic Act 9439 o ang Anti-Hospital Detention Act.

Ginawa ng DOH ang paalala matapos makatanggap ng impormasyon na may pribadong ospital umano na nag-detain ng isang pasyente dahil walang maipambayad sa hospital bill.

Paglilinaw naman ni Vergeire, obligado pa rin ang pasyente na magbayad ng kanilang bill kaya kailangan silang mag-iwan ng dokumento o identification card sa ospital upang matiyak na hindi nila tatakbuhan ang kanilang obligasyon.

“Bawal po tayo mag-detain ng ating pasyente because they cannot pay as of this time. Alam niyo naman ang mga ospital ay entities din po ang mga ito na gumagastos and they need din po na mabayaran sila,” ang wika ni Vergeire.

“Although hindi tamang nagde-detain ng pasyente pero kailangan ang pasyente o ang pamilya ay makapag-iwan ng katunayan na babalik ka,” dagdag pa niya.

BInigyang-diin rin ng opisyal na hindi maaaring i-refer ang isang pasyente o kaanak nito sa isang lending facility para makakuha ng loan na pambayad sa ospital.

Ang maaari aniyang gawin ng pasyente ay gumawa ng sulat o promissory note para sa pagsasa-ayos ng bayarin.

“They can leave a promissory note with the promise of course that they can pay in installment kung kailangan,” ani Vergeire.

“It is also not a good practice that hospitals will be directing patients to lending facilities and all. Ang kailangan lang po that is acceptable, humihinigi lang po sila ng ID na iiwanan nila or something than can be tracked pa rin ang pasyente,” dagdag pa niya.

Paalala rin ng DOH na dapat maayos ang usapan at walang magigipit sa ganitong sitwasyon.

“It is an internal arrangement between the hospitals and patients. Una, kailangan din natin intindihin ang side ng hospital mayroon kasing naiwan na pera na hindi mababayaran,” ani Vergeire.

Kung nakaranas ng panggigipit sa mga ospital, maaaring maghain ng reklamo sa Health Facilities and Services Regulatory Bureau ng DOH upang maimbestigahan ang isyu.

Alinsunod sa batas, maaaring pagmultahin ng hanggang P50,000 o kaya ay makulong ng hanggang anim na buwan ang sinumang opisyal o empleyado ng isang medical facility na mapapatunayang nanggipit ng isang pasyenteng hindi kayang barayan ang hospital bill. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

Crushed dolomite along Manila Bay can cause respiratory issues, DOH says

Robie de Guzman   •   September 7, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Monday warned that the inhalation of crushed dolomite rock – the material used in the artificial white sand dumped along the Manila Bay – can cause respiratory issues.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that based on studies, a person may suffer adverse effects from inhaling dolomite dust.

“Sa mga pag-aaral, kapag na inhale natin ito, may mga adverse reactions, respiratory mainly,” Vergeire said.

“Pero hindi naman natin sinasabi na when you go to Manila Bay, you’ll get it at once. Yun lang sinasabi ng mga artikulo,” she added.

Aside from respiratory problems, dolomite dust may also cause irritation if it gets into a person’s eyes or gastrointestinal discomfort if ingested.

“Kapag napunta sa mata, nagkakaroon ng konting irritation so you just have to wash it off with water. Kapag ingested, it can have discomfort sa gastrointestinal system natin and magkakaroon ng sakit ng tyan at pagtatae,” Vergeire said.

“These are the minor effects of these dolomites na nilagay sa Manila Bay,” she added.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) last week implemented its initiative to adorn the Manila Bay shoreline with white sand using crushed dolomite rocks from Cebu Province.

The projects is part of the P389-million beach nourishment project.

Vergeire, however, said she trusts that the DENR has made studies on how dolomite will affect people and the environment before it approved the project.

Some groups have criticized the DENR’s move, saying dumping artificial white sand along Manila Bay was unnecessary and could even negatively affect the ecosystem.

Environment Undersecretary Benny Artiporda earlier argued that crushed dolomite rock is not harmful to the environment and is being used in some resorts.

“The dolomite stones, sabihin na nating dolomite stones, sandstones yan no, were being used by different resorts and beaches since the 1990s. So until now walang problema at maganda naman yung sitwasyon niya,” he said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Vincent Arboleda)

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