Garin welcomes probe on the controversial P8.1-B barangay health station project

Marje Pelayo   •   June 19, 2018   •   3863

FILE PHOTO: Former Health Secretary Janette Garin

QUEZON CITY, Philippines – Former Health Secretary Janette Garin said she supports the Department of Health (DOH) in filing a lawsuit on the alleged anomaly surrounding the P8.1 billion barangay health station project of the agency.

Garin added that she is willing to face probe, especially that her name is again being implicated in yet another controversy. However, she appealed to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III to hear her side on the alleged irregularities in the procurement process of the project.

“(The) bottom line here is (that) there is no perfect program but there will always be a solution lalo na kapag inuupuan, tinitignan iyong problema at hinahanapan ng sagot. But if there are violations then, I agree, heads should roll. If there is corruption, heads should also roll. Pero huwag naman po sana agad- agad na nagbibintang, “ Garin argued in a phone interview with UNTV Tuesday, June 19.

( The bottom line here is that, there is no perfect program but there will always be a solution specially if you discuss and assess the problem in search of an answer. But if there are violations then, I agree, heads should roll. If there is corruption, heads should also roll. But they shouldn’t be quick to point fingers at others.)

The Barangay Health Station Project was launched during the Aquino administration when Garin was still the DOH secretary.

The former health chief maintained she is innocent, adding that she welcomes any investigation. She is also ready to present relative documents that will disprove the allegations of an anomaly in the said project. – Aiko Miguel | Marje Pelayo

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)

DOH agrees with FDA decision to ban Dengvaxia in Phl

Maris Federez   •   August 22, 2019

A Filipino nurse prepares to administer an anti-dengue vaccine during a nationwide vaccination at a school in the flood-prone city of Marikina, east of Manila, Philippines, 04 April 2016. (Photoville International / FILE)

The Department of Health (DOH) has rejected the request of Sanofi Pasteur to overturn the decision of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ban the use of Dengvaxia vaccine in the Philippines.

With this, the DOH approved the ruling of the FDA to permanently revoke the certificate of product registration of Dengvaxia for Sanofi’s failure to submit the necessary post-approval requirements.

“The decision concerns Sanofi’s complete disregard of FDA regulations, which were precisely put in place by law to ensure safety,” DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III said in a statement.

Although Sanofi was able to submit the first two versions of its risk management plans (RMP), the pharmaceutical company failed to submit the third and final version of the plan.

The DOH said, however, that Sanofi may apply for a new certificate of product registration (CPR) for Dengvaxia but this must be in accordance with the FDA regulations.

“Given that Dengvaxia is an innovative drug, the importance of complying with these post-marketing commitments is critical to public safety,” the statement added.

Meanwhile, the department has assured that it continues to address the increasing cases of dengue in the country. /mbmf

Police, military hospitals on standby amid national dengue alert

Marje Pelayo   •   July 18, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) has tapped the service of military hospitals amid following the declaration of national dengue alert.

According to DOH Spokesperson Eric Domingo, they have asked the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to be on standby in case the number of dengue cases increases beyond government hospitals’ capacity.

“Ang PNP at ang AFP natin may mga hospitals din naman sila and we have to network with them in case na talagang dumami ang pasyente (The PNP and the AFP also have hospitals and we have to network with them in case the number of patients increases),” Domingo said.

“Halimbawa may mga lugar na malayo sa amin tapos sila may hospital maari kaming makipagtulungan para ma- admit din ang mga pasyente sa mga hospitals nila (There are certain areas beyond our reach where military hospitals are located. We can ask for help to admit the patients there in their hospitals),” he added.

On Wednesday (July 17), Health Secretary Francisco Duque III met with the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) Health Cluster to discuss measures to curb the sudden rise of dengue infections in the country.

The DOH is in cooperation with other agencies like the Department of Education (DepEd), the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) in implementing actions in schools to prevent dengue, in educating the public on the dangers of dengue infection, and in coordinating with the local government units in destroying potential breeding grounds of dengue-carrying mosquitoes in different areas in the country.

“Kailangan talaga sa schools maglinis tayo, ma- educate natin iyong children at iyong parents kung paano iyong dapat natin gawin to prevent itong dengue at tsaka meron tayong changes sa mga patakaran sa school, (We need to have regularly clean up drive in schools and we need to educate the children and the parents on what to do to prevent dengue. Also, we have changes in school regulations,)” the DOH Spokesperson said.

Likewise, among the agencies’ action plans include designation of additional hospital rooms for dengue patients through Philippine Red Cross and the construction of extra hospital tents which can be used for emergency.

Domingo stressed the need to always be alert in providing the medical needs of dengue patients in order to prevent further deaths caused by dengue infection this year.

The DOH advises households to dispose stagnant water and dirty containers where dengue mosquitoes may breed.

Install protections such as window and door screens.

Likewise, do not let your child play or come near areas where mosquitoes are breeding.

Maganda pa rin talaga naka- pantalon at long sleeves ang mga bata para hindi siya makakagat ng lamok (It is better to have your child wear long pants and long sleeves to prevent mosquito bites),” Domingo advised.

The DOH, as always, reminds the public to immediately bring the patient to the nearest hospital if symptoms of dengue manifest.

The agency can be reached through the DOH hotline numbers 711-1001 and 711-1002 for inquiry about dengue. — with reports from Aiko Miguel

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