DOH-Region 3 calls on LGUs to impose ‘no buying, no selling’ of firecrackers this holiday

Marje Pelayo   •   December 18, 2018   •   2800

Fire cracker seller | Photo courtesy: Cheryl Ravelo-Gagalac/Reuters

PAMPANGA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) Region 3 is encouraging local government units (LGU) to impose a ban on sales and purchase of firecrackers to achieve its target of zero-casualties in the New Year celebrations.

“I think it’s reachable if you enforce it. Strictly enforce it – no buying, no selling,” said Jessie Fantone, the head of the DOH Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit in Region 3.

In a press conference on Tuesday (December 18), the regional health officials asked the cooperation of the local government unit to promote and support the agency’s ‘Iwas Paputok’ campaign.

“Although napansin nga natin na bumaba this year we would still like to thank the PNP DILG for being more strict in the implementation of selling. The DOH can only remind the people na its dangerous to their health,” Fantone said.

Since 2015, firecracker-related injuries in Region 3 has dropped from 655 to 539 in 2016 to about half or 390 in 2017.

In 2017, the highest number recorded was in Pampanga with 159 followed by Bulacan and Nueva Ecija with 87 and 46, respectively.

Most common injuries were firecracker burns and wounds at 88%, with only 7% who suffered from eye injuries.

Meanwhile, the DOH-Region 3 will impose a code white alert beginning December 21, 2018 to January 2, 2019.

This means that hospitals will be closely monitoring firecracker-related incidents and will be on call in case of firecracker-related emergencies.

“We have standby teams in case magkaroon ng eventualities, mass casualty incident and we have available resources at our emergency rooms po sa lahat ng DOH Hospitals to manage injuries po pwedeng dalhin sa ating DOH hospitals,” said Rosanna Rosell, Representative for DOH-DRRMH Program.

The DOH reminds victims of firecrackers to wash the wound properly with clean water and immediately go to the nearest hospital for proper medical attention. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Leslie Huidem)

DOH orders public hospital to increase bed capacity for COVID-19 patients

Marje Pelayo   •   July 22, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — One after the other, major hospitals in Metro Manila last week declared full capacity of its designated beds for COVID-19 patients.

According to their respective statements, the hospitals fear that operations would collapse with the daily surge of COVID-19 patients.

Thus, the Department of Health (DOH) has required all public hospitals to increase their bed capacity to accommodate more COVID-19 patients.

“ [For] public hospitals, we require them to allocate 30 percent of their bed capacity for COVID-19 patients,” said Heath Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.

Kapag nag-surge ang cases, 50 percent [dapat], at ‘pag kailangan pa, dapat 70 percent of their bed capacity should be allocated for COVID-19 patients, [When cases surge, hospitals’ bed capacity for COVID-19 patients should be 50 percent and if necessary, 70 percent),” she added.

Private hospitals, meanwhile, are required to initially allot 20 percent of their bed capacity for COVID-19 patients and if necessary, expand further to 30 percent bed capacity as dictated by the “One Hospital Command” launched by the DOH.

Under the program, an incident command system network between hospitals will be established to coordinate transfers in case one hospital can no longer accommodate incoming COVID-19 patients.

“That is our answer to this problem, the One Hospital Command. Kasi kung di magtutulong tulong bawat mga ospital both public and private in a specific locality, we will not be able to have this proper referral system,” Vergeire expalined.

Gaya ng puno na ICU ng hospital, kapag di nya maaccept ang isang pasyente, meron silang incident command system, kung saan ibabato lang nila ang pasyente, enroll the details and ang system ang maghahanap kung saan pwedeng dalin among all of the hospitals in NCR,” she added.

The official noted that due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases, government hospitals like Lung Center of the Philippines, Philippine Children’s Medical Center, Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital, Heart Center and other hospitals for specific specialization also have been accepting COVID-19 patients in response to the demand after major hospitals declared full bed capacity. MNP (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

Philippines eyes 30,000 daily COVID-19 tests by end of May

Robie de Guzman   •   May 12, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) is eyeing to achieve 30,000 daily tests for novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) by the end of the month as it works to ramp up the country’s testing capacity.

The DOH set the target after it finally attained its first target to conduct 8,000 COVID-19 tests in a day.

On Sunday, May 10, the agency reported it has conducted 8,637 tests in one day. This is, however, 10 days past its target date of April 30.

According to Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, the tests were done on 158,176 unique individuals.

She explained that one of the causes of the delay was the slow processing of samples after the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) had to scale down its operations in April when over 40 of its medical staff contracted COVID-19.

The RITM has since returned to normal operations after most of its personnel recovered from the disease.

So far, the Philippines has 26 accredited laboratories capable of detecting the strain of coronavirus strain that causes COVID-19.

Vergeire said they are eyeing to open additional testing facilities to reach its target of 30,000 daily tests.

This way, the country will be able to improve efforts on contact tracing, isolation and treatment of COVID-19 patients to effectively curb the spread of the disease.

“Hindi pa po tapos ang laban ng World War C (COVID-19) sa bawa’t bagong impormasyon bawa’t bagong teknolohiyang nadidiskubre upang malabanan ang COVID-19 tayo’y dapat maging manatiling alerto dahil ang bawa’t bagay na nagagawa natin ay mayron buhay na mailigtas,” Vergeire said.

To date, the Philippines has recorded 11,086 confirmed coronavirus infections, with 726 deaths and 1,999 recovered patients. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

DTI orders PNP to seize firecrackers with no PS markings

Maris Federez   •   December 20, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has tasked the Philippine National Police (PNP) to confiscate firecrackers being sold in Bulacan without Product Safety (PS) markings.

In an inspection it conducted in Bocaue, Bulacan on Friday (Dec. 20), the DTI checked several types of firecrackers to see if they have the PS marking.

According to DTI Assistant Secretary for Consumer Protection Group Atty. Anne Claire Cabochan, the PS mark is proof that the product has undergone a thorough inspection and is safe to use.

“Lalo na yung mga produktong na medyo delicate to handle kung hindi yan dumaan ng certification process yung manufacturing nila tsaka yung handling storage at lahat eh hindi dumadaan sa tamang proseso mas malaki yung magiging danger,” Cabochan said.

Cabochan said the DTI will make an inventory of all those without the PS markings and will ask the PNP to confiscate the product after inventory.

The DTI also announced that the license of Phoenix Fireworks has already expired since Wednesday (Dec.18).

With this, the legitimate manufacturers left in the market as far as the DTI is concerned are Tiger Fireworks and Pegasus Fireworks.

The agency, however, clarified that Phoenix can still sell the rest of its fireworks products as they were manufactured before the expiration of its license. — (from the report of Joan Nano) /mbmf

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