FDA asks hospitals to report vaping-related illnesses amid rising cases abroad

Robie de Guzman   •   September 9, 2019   •   1015

MANILA, Philippines – The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is calling on hospitals under the Department of Health (DOH) to report any cases of illness or injury related to the use of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarette) and vaping amid rising number of such cases in other countries.

“The FDA requests all DOH-retained hospitals to immediately communicate relevant case reports of injuries and illnesses documented arising from the use of these devices,” the agency said in an advisory.

***FDA Advisory No. 2019-258***-Surveillance for injuries and illness arising from the use of electronic nicotine and…

Posted by Food and Drug Administration Philippines on Sunday, 8 September 2019

The FDA said this is in the interest of evidence-based policy development, and in line with the emerging report of electronic cigarette-related injury and illnesses from Europe and North America.

The agency said the use of electronic nicotine and non-nicotine delivery systems (ENDS/ENNDS) are under the purview of the agency based on Republic Act 9711, the FDA said.

“In compliance with the Data Privacy Act of 2012, it is expected that the information provided will be anonymized in as much as they are thorough and extensive,” the agency said.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in August issued an advisory, cautioning the public against the purchase and use of vaping ingredients from the street and to stop modifying either nicotine or cannabis e-cigarette in an effort to curb the reportedly rising cases of vaping-related sicknesses in 25 U.S. states.

As of August 27, U.S. health authorities have monitored 215 possible cases of pulmonary illnesses, all patients have reported using e-cigarette products.

According to the USCDC, e-cigarettes can contain harmful or potentially harmful substances, including nicotine, heavy metals such as lead, volatile organic compounds, and cancer-causing chemicals.

Additionally, some e-cigarette products are used to deliver illicit substances, which may be acquired from unknown or unauthorized sources.

“Based on reports from several states, patients have experienced respiratory symptoms (cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain), and some have also experienced gastrointestinal symptoms (nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea) or non-specific constitutional symptoms (fatigue, fever, or weight loss). Symptoms typically develop over a period of days but sometimes can manifest over several weeks,” the advisory stated.

The USCDC have recommended some steps for clinicians, including the reporting of cases of severe pulmonary disease of unclear etiology and history of e-cigarette use within the past 90 days, to help determine the cause of these sicknesses.

READ: WHO: Tobacco kills 8 million each year, e-cigarettes not a proven alternative

The World Health Organization (WHO) earlier said the use of e-cigarettes should be regulated as there is no evidence proving they were a safer alternative to cigarettes, warning that it normalizes smoking and hooks young people.

Filipinos from Wuhan ‘all well and safe’, cleared to go home after quarantine – DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   February 21, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Filipinos repatriated from Wuhan City in China are now allowed to go home as they showed no signs and symptoms of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) after their 14-day quarantine period, the Department of Health (DOH) said Friday.

In a statement, the DOH said the 30 Filipinos and 19 others who returned from Wuhan – the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak – will be released after they manifested no signs of fever, cough, or sore throat during their 14-day stay at the quarantine facility in New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac.

A send-off ceremony will be held on February 22, Saturday to mark the completion of their mandatory quarantine, the department said.

“We are glad that our repatriates are all well and safe from COVID-19. Our repatriation mission is not possible without the dedication and cooperation of the entire Interagency Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases with all its member agencies,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said.

“We are extremely grateful for the collective effort of the government,” he added.

The DOH, meanwhile, revealed that another batch of Filipinos is set to be quarantined in the facility following their arrival this weekend.

This batch is composed of about 460 to 480 Filipinos from the virus-hit M/V Diamond Princess cruise ship who availed of the government’s repatriation program.

The health department said the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has already adopted a repatriation plan for the return of the Filipinos from Yokohama, Japan.

They are also coordinating with the World Health Organization, the Philippine Embassy in Japan and the Magsaysay Maritime Corporation for the repatriation process.

Under the repatriation plan, the DOH shall provide health human resources and transportation to the quarantine site, on-site medical needs of the repatriates, hospitalization expenses through Philhealth, and personal protective equipment (PPE) for the first five days of the quarantine period.

Magsaysay Maritime Corporation will bear the cost of transportation expenses, food, lodging, personal hygiene kits and disinfectants, and other expenses.

The Department of Transportation will shoulder the transportation of repatriates from Haribon hangar in Pampanga to New Clark City, while the OWWA will provide livelihood packages to the repatriates, and their transportation from Manila to their respective destinations after the quarantine period.

“We would like to assure Filipinos abroad that our government is working tirelessly to ensure that no Filipino gets left behind in our fight against COVID-19. DOH and the Philippine government are prepared to undertake all measures to care for our kababayans, no matter where they are,” Duque said.

Filipinos aboard quarantined ship in Japan to be repatriated on Feb. 23 – DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   February 20, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Filipinos aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship being quarantined due to cases of coronavirus among its passengers in Yokohama, Japan will be repatriated by the Philippine government on Sunday, February 23, the Department of Health (DOH) announced Thursday.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III told reporters in a briefing that the Filipinos will arrive at the Haribon Hangar of Clark Airbase in two planes and will be brought to New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac to undergo the mandatory 14-day quarantine.

Of the 3,711 people onboard the cruise ship, 538 are Filipinos – 531 are crew members while seven are passengers.

The health chief said they need to bring home as soon as possible Filipinos who did not test positive for novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and are not showing symptoms of the illness.

However, Filipinos aboard the cruise ship who were found infected with the disease will not be repatriated as they will have to be brought to a hospital to undergo treatment or monitoring.

As of Thursday, the number of Filipinos on the vessel who were found positive for COVID-19 has risen to 44.

Duque said the Philippine government is willing to assist Filipinos who contracted the disease once they have recovered.

He also said that it is not yet known how many Filipinos will return home as some might still decide to stay after disembarking the ship on Wednesday when the two-week quarantine period ended.

The entire cruise ship was placed on quarantine last February 3 after one of its passengers tested positive for the virus.

Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. earlier ordered for the immediate repatriation of Filipinos aboard the cruise ship.

The DFA said they have been coordinating with Japanese authorities and the operator of the vessel to ensure that everything will be smooth once the repatriation process begins. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

MCGI receives highest recognition in Dugong Bayani Awards 2019

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 14, 2020

The Members, Church of God International (MCGI) received the highest recognition at the Dugong Bayani Awards 2019 of the Philippine Blood Center and the Department of Health (DOH).

For the eighth consecutive year, MCGI received the Jose Rizal Award for having the highest number of blood donors in the country.

The Jose Rizal Award is awarded to organizations who were able to donate 2,000 bags of blood in a year.

According to the DOH, the MCGI was able to donate 5,801 bags within a year which is the highest for 2019.

“Alam naman natin na iyong ating ginagawa ay [upang] hindi tayo maghabol ng pagkilala ng tao kundi ang mahalaga, makatulong tayo sa ating kapwa tao na nangangailangan, (We know that we are not doing this for the recognition but what is important is we are able to help our fellowmen in need)” according to MCGI representative Danny Navales.

The DOH has also awarded different government agencies, private sectors, and individuals who had huge contributions to the agency’s blood donation campaign.

“Voluntary blood donation is very important kasi ang dugo, hindi natin iyan nama-manufacture. Nakukuha lang natin ang dugo sa donasyon ng ating kapwa tao (because blood cannot be manufactured. We only get blood from our fellowmen),” according to Philippine Blood Center Medical Officer III Dr. April Charlotte Andal.

The DOH continues to encourage the public to donate blood.

The MCGI regularly conducts blood donation drives at all Ang Dating Daan Coordinating Centers across the country and abroad. This is part of the advocacy campaign of Brother Eli Soriano and Brother Daniel Razon of helping people in need.

“Kailan pa man at tayo’y binibigyan ng Panginoong Dios ng mabuting pagkakataon ay makaaasa ang ating mga kababayan na patuloy pa po nating palalaguin o pagyayabungin pa ang ganitong pagtulong sa kapwa (As long as God is giving us the opportunity, rest assured that we will continue to help others),” Navales said.—AAC (with reports from Vincent Arboleda)

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