DOH, UNICEF urge LGUs to prioritize sanitation

Aileen Cerrudo   •   November 20, 2019   •   474

The Department of Health and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) urge local government units in the country to prioritize sanitation.

With this, the DOH launched the Philippine Approach to Sustainable Sanitation (PhATSS) policy in Baseco, Tondo, Manila in celebration of World Toilet Day (WTD) on November 19.

DOH Secretary Francisco T. Duque III said that using a toilet as well as the practice of handwashing with soap after using the toilet and before eating helps prevent the transmission of polio, among other diseases.

“DOH is reminding the public to practice good hygiene and urging the Local Government Units (LGUs) through the aid of DOH Centers for Health Development (CHDs) to intensify their Zero Open Defecation Program,” he said.

The PhATSS policy cites new sanitation targets for all barangays across the Philippines to achieve Zero Open Defecation (ZOD) status by 2025. 

“Using the PhATSS policy, LGUs are guided on how to track the sanitation situation of each community and take supportive action to ensure that no one is left behind without access to a sanitary toilet,” according to the DOH.

The health department also said that there are currently only 11% of barangays (only 4625 out of a total 42,045) are certified ZOD, where people have abandoned the practice of open defecation.

UNICEF Deputy Representative Julia Rees said UNICEF provides technical assistance to DOH in scaling up sanitation programs.

“The effect of proper sanitation on health, nutrition, education, and security of Filipino children and women is paramount. It’s about time to look at addressing the sanitation needs of people in urban slums, in remote and geographically isolated areas, and in indigenous communities for a healthier, more progressive Philippines, and to ensure that no one is left behind,” she said.—AAC

DOH explains COVID-19 recoveries are symptoms-based, not test-based

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 31, 2020

All the mild and asymptomatic cases that had undergone quarantine for 14 days have been considered recovered after not exhibiting any symptoms of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), according to the Department of Health (DOH).

The DOH said this policy is the global standard where symptoms-based is used and not test-based in declaring a recovered COVID-19 patient.

Kapag asymptomatic po siya after 14 days without symptoms, they can already be tagged as recovered pwede na po siyang mag- trabaho (If he is asymptomatic after 14 days without symptoms, he can already be tagged as recovered and resume work), according to DOH Usec. Rosario Vergeire.

Still, Vergeire said that it is important that a recovered individual should have an assessment from a physician confirming his recovery.

The number of daily recoveries went up to over 38,000 on Thursday (July 30), with a total of 65,054 recovered cases. The daily number of cases, meanwhile, went over 3,000.

The DOH said the ‘mass recoveries’ and surge of cases is due to the ‘reconciliation efforts’ of the department to consolidate its data with the data of local government units (LGUs) through Oplan Recovery.

Oplan Recovery is the DOH’s initiative to monitor the status of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country. –AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

COVID-19 cases in Phl hit 80,000 mark

Maris Federez   •   July 27, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) on Sunday, July 26, reported that the number of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases in the country has reached 80,448.

The health department added that “a total of 2,110 confirmed cases are reported based on the total tests done by 66 out of 90 current operational labs.”

The DOH also confirmed 382 recoveries, bringing the total number to 26,110.

The recorded COVID-19 death toll, meanwhile, has reached 1,932 with an additional 39 fatalities.

The department noted that 74 duplicates were removed from the total case count.

DOH Usec. Maria Rosario Vergeire has earlier said that although the country has recorded an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases, the case doubling time has slowed down.

“Ang nakikita po nating dahilan dito ay dahil sa continuously improving na case treatment and management protocols ng ating bansa sa pag-handle ng mga COVID-19 patients,” Vergeire said.

Meanwhile, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said that the possibility of Metro Manila reverting to modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) will likely happen if the total number of COVID-19 cases reaches 85,000 in July as projected by the University of the Philippines (UP) OCTA Research.

He added, however, that this could be avoided if the public will not ignore the minimum health standards now that many has been allowed to go out. — /mbmf

DOH aims to test 10-M Filipinos for COVID-19

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 21, 2020

The Department of Health (DOH) aims to target 10 million Filipinos to undergo testing for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III, however, said the government does not have the capacity to test all citizens, adding that no country has ever had the capacity to do so.

Hindi naman po natin pwede i-test ang bawa’t mamamayan wala pong bansang nakakagawa nito kahit ang pinakamayaman katulad ng United States of America (You cannot test every citizen, no country has done that even the richest ones like the United States of America),” he said.

However, Duque said they target to test 10% of the total population of the country by 2021. This would exceed the ratio testing capacity of America, Duque added.

“[Our target] is 10 million Filipinos to be tested by 2021. We hope to do the test at 32,000 to 40,000 a day,” he said.

READ: DOH to include PUV drivers in expanded COVID-19 testing

The DOH previously announced they will include other workers in their expanded COVID-19 testing while they recently announced the completion of a Filipino-made coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) test kit.

“We still have lots of testing kits. It’s about 2 million plus testing kits still left para gamitin sa goal na gusto natin (to be used to achieve our goal) for us to have sustained capacity for testing,” according to DOH Spokesperson Usec. Maria Rosario Vergeire. –AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

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