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

Marje Pelayo   •   December 18, 2018   •   2866

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)

LGUs urged to pass ordinances banning videoke, other noisy activities during online class hours

Robie de Guzman   •   October 7, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Wednesday called on local government units (LGU) to pass ordinances that will prohibit videoke sessions and other loud and distracting activities during online class hours.

In a statement, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said loud sounds during online class hours and independent study periods can disturb students from their lessons and school activities being undertaken at their homes under the blended learning system.

“Bilang mga disiplinado at responsableng mga magulang at mamamayan, tulungan natin ang ating mga estudyante na mabigyan ng tahimik at payapa na kapaligiran para sila ay makapag-aral ng mabuti sa kani-kanilang mga tahanan,” Año said.

Año’s statement is in support to the call of Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Police General Camilo Cascolan for LGUs to implement policies against the use of videoke and other activities that create unnecessary noise in communities.

He likewise urged vehicle owners to avoid unnecessary blowing of their car horns during school hours as these will also distract the learners.

He further called on LGUs to ban other forms of noisy activities such as bingo, betting stations, drinking sprees, and cockfighting to avoid disturbing students still adjusting to the blended learning system, as well as prevent mass gatherings that could lead to community transmission amid the pandemic.

“Security, safety, and other measures that the PNP used to implement for the schools should be expanded to include the entire barangay as part of the expanded learning space amid the continued threat of COVID-19,” Año said.

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)

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