DOH confirms another polio case in PH

Robie de Guzman   •   November 25, 2019   •   244

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Monday said it has recorded another case of polio in the country.

The DOH said the new case is from Mindanao – a nine-year old girl from Basilan who has not received any vaccine for polio.

The department said samples from the girl were sent to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine and the National Institute of Infectious Diseases in Japan. Results of the test came out positive for poliovirus.

The confirmation of the new case brings the total number of confirmed polio cases this year to eight.

Last week, the DOH confirmed three cases of polio in children under five years old from Mindanao.

In September, the department confirmed the re-emergence of the disease in the Philippines 19 years after it was declared polio-free by the World Health Organization.

The DOH said it is currently coordinating with the Ministry of Health of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) to maximize the immunization coverage and intensify polio vaccination efforts in Basilan.

Health workers are also set to go house-to-house to ensure that all children under five years of age are vaccinated. Health centers, government hospitals, fixed vaccination posts in barangays malls, terminals, and fast food chains, among others, will also be providing vaccination.

DOH likewise reminded parents and caregivers to participate in the next round vaccination against polio from November 25 to December 7 in the National Capital Region and the whole of Mindanao.

All children under five years of age, regardless of immunization status, will receive a dose of the oral polio vaccine during the campaign.

“I urge all parents and caregivers of children under five years old to take part in the Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio campaign and have their children vaccinated by our health workers,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said.

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DILG supports DND recommendation to lift martial law in Mindanao

Robie de Guzman   •   December 5, 2019

FILE PHOTO: Armed Forces of the Philippines

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Thursday expressed support for the recommendation of the Department of National Defense (DND) not to extend the declaration of martial law in Mindanao after it expires on December 31 this year.

In a statement, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said his agency concurs with the DND’s view that “the purpose of Martial Law has been attained based on the assessment of military and police forces.”

The DILG chief also said that “normalcy has returned to the entire region and the peace and order situation in the area has remarkably improved since the Marawi Siege of 2017.”

“In the last two years and eight months that Martial Law is in effect in Mindanao, our military and police forces in the region have significantly degraded the forces and capabilities of the Maute and other threat groups that they no longer have any capacity to launch a Marawi-type attack,” he said in a statement.

“Moreover, three guerilla fronts have been cleared and three Pulang Bagani commands of the CPP-NPA-NDF (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front) have been dismantled,” he added.

The DILG chief also stated that the lifting of martial law will be beneficial to the country’s economy, bringing with it more local and foreign investments and increase tourist arrivals in the region.

“We also believe that the lifting of Martial Law will be advantageous to the economy as it will signal the full return to normalcy and the end to perceived security risks of investing and travelling to Mindanao,” he said.

Mindanao has been under martial law since 2017 after Maute Terror group attacked Marawi City.

The martial law was initially set for 60 days but it was extended until the end of 2017, then until the end of 2018 and to the end of 2019.

Año further noted that local government units, through their respective local peace and order councils from the regional down to the barangay level, are also now more engaged and are actively working with their counterparts in the security sector to carry out peace and security measures in Mindanao.

“In fact, there is a 30% drop in crime in the BARMM (Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao) alone,” he said.

Año also assured the public that even without martial law, the police and military will continue to launch security operations to protect the public against possible threat from extremists and communist rebels.

DOH warns public against unregistered medical devices in online shops

Aileen Cerrudo   •   December 4, 2019

The Department of Health (DOH) has warned the public against unregistered medical devices that are being sold in online shops.

This includes wound dressing and gauze without a certificate of product registration (CPR) from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

DOH Health Regulation Team Assistant Secretary Atty. Charade Mercado-Grande has advised that the public should verify they are buying from a legitimate medical supplier or pharmacy when buying medical supplies, devices, and medicines.

Grande also said that pharmacies should also get a license for online ordering.

“Pharmacies should get license for online ordering so people can order medicines from them online [but] it’s for pick-up and not for delivery,” she said.

The FDA already released an advisory to the public to refrain from buying unregistered medical devices online.

“Pursuant to the Republic Act No. 9711, otherwise known as the “Food and Drug Administration Act of 2009”, the manufacture, importation, exportation, sale, offering for sale, distribution, transfer, non-consumer use, promotion, advertising or sponsorship of health products without the proper authorization is prohibited,” the advisory reads.

The FDA assures violators will face regulatory actions and sanctions.—AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

More possible cases of polio being monitored in PH – DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   November 22, 2019

A Filipino baby receives a polio vaccine inside a government-run health center in Manila, Philippines, 08 October 2019 (issued 11 October 2019). EPA-EFE/FRANCIS R. MALASIG

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) said it is monitoring more possible cases of polio in the country following recent cases of children who tested positive for poliovirus in Mindanao.

The DOH said there are still other cases awaiting confirmation from the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said they recorded more cases in the past months because the agency is actively conducting surveillance of suspected polio cases.

On Wednesday, Nov. 21, the DOH confirmed three new cases of polio in children under five years old from Mindanao, bringing to seven the total number of polio cases in the country this year.

In September, the department confirmed the re-emergence of the disease in the Philippines 19 years after it was declared polio-free by the World Health Organization.

The DOH said it is set to begin a new round of synchronized oral polio vaccine campaign for the whole of Mindanao, as well as in the National Capital Region (NCR) from Nov. 25 to Dec. 7 this year.

A polio immunization campaign will also be conducted in Mindanao from Jan. 6 to 18, 2020.

The department said the campaign’s “Patak Polio Corners” will be set up in selected McDonald’s stores in Metro Manila and in Mindanao after IT forged a partnership on Thursday, Nov. 21.

“We are relentless in making this health service accessible and available to all, consistent with our goal of Universal Health Care,” Duque said in a separate statement.

The Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio campaign aims to vaccinate all children below 5 years old regardless of Polio vaccination status, the DOH added.

According to the agency, the initial round of the synchronized polio vaccination reported 96% coverage among children 0 to 59 months old from the 17 cities/municipality in NCR.

Davao del Sur recorded 92% coverage from its 10 cities/municipalities while Lanao del Sur reported 85% coverage from 40 cities/municipalities.  

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