More possible cases of polio being monitored in PH – DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   November 22, 2019   •   313

A Filipino baby receives a polio vaccine inside a government-run health center in Manila, Philippines, 08 October 2019 (issued 11 October 2019). EPA-EFE/FRANCIS R. MALASIG

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) said it is monitoring more possible cases of polio in the country following recent cases of children who tested positive for poliovirus in Mindanao.

The DOH said there are still other cases awaiting confirmation from the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said they recorded more cases in the past months because the agency is actively conducting surveillance of suspected polio cases.

On Wednesday, Nov. 21, the DOH confirmed three new cases of polio in children under five years old from Mindanao, bringing to seven the total number of polio cases in the country this year.

In September, the department confirmed the re-emergence of the disease in the Philippines 19 years after it was declared polio-free by the World Health Organization.

The DOH said it is set to begin a new round of synchronized oral polio vaccine campaign for the whole of Mindanao, as well as in the National Capital Region (NCR) from Nov. 25 to Dec. 7 this year.

A polio immunization campaign will also be conducted in Mindanao from Jan. 6 to 18, 2020.

The department said the campaign’s “Patak Polio Corners” will be set up in selected McDonald’s stores in Metro Manila and in Mindanao after IT forged a partnership on Thursday, Nov. 21.

“We are relentless in making this health service accessible and available to all, consistent with our goal of Universal Health Care,” Duque said in a separate statement.

The Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio campaign aims to vaccinate all children below 5 years old regardless of Polio vaccination status, the DOH added.

According to the agency, the initial round of the synchronized polio vaccination reported 96% coverage among children 0 to 59 months old from the 17 cities/municipality in NCR.

Davao del Sur recorded 92% coverage from its 10 cities/municipalities while Lanao del Sur reported 85% coverage from 40 cities/municipalities.  

DOH probes 77 hospitals for illegal detention complaints

Aileen Cerrudo   •   December 5, 2019

The Department of Health (DOH) is looking into 77 hospitals that are facing complaints for illegally detaining patients due to ‘unsettled’ hospital bills.

DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III assured that patients who experienced illegal detention by the hospitals will be given justice. He also added that the cases are expected to be resolved by March 2020.

Duque said that Republic Act No. 9439 or Anti-Hospital Detention Law, it is prohibited for patients to be illegally detained due to unpaid hospital bills.

He also reminded hospitals that they cannot choose patients and there is no guarantee that all patients have the capability to pay their hospital bills.

“Ang mga nakasuhan, karamihan mga pribadong mga opistal na ayaw paalisin ang mga pasyente komo hindi makabayad. (The accused, most of them are private hospitals who refused their patients to leave because they cannot settle their bill)” he said.

The 77 pending complaints are currently being reviewed by the DOH’s Health Facilities Oversight Board (HFOB). Several of the complaints were filed in 2018.—AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

DOH warns public against unregistered medical devices in online shops

Aileen Cerrudo   •   December 4, 2019

The Department of Health (DOH) has warned the public against unregistered medical devices that are being sold in online shops.

This includes wound dressing and gauze without a certificate of product registration (CPR) from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

DOH Health Regulation Team Assistant Secretary Atty. Charade Mercado-Grande has advised that the public should verify they are buying from a legitimate medical supplier or pharmacy when buying medical supplies, devices, and medicines.

Grande also said that pharmacies should also get a license for online ordering.

“Pharmacies should get license for online ordering so people can order medicines from them online [but] it’s for pick-up and not for delivery,” she said.

The FDA already released an advisory to the public to refrain from buying unregistered medical devices online.

“Pursuant to the Republic Act No. 9711, otherwise known as the “Food and Drug Administration Act of 2009”, the manufacture, importation, exportation, sale, offering for sale, distribution, transfer, non-consumer use, promotion, advertising or sponsorship of health products without the proper authorization is prohibited,” the advisory reads.

The FDA assures violators will face regulatory actions and sanctions.—AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

The cold winds are rising: How to stay healthy amid cold weather illnesses

Aileen Cerrudo   •   November 29, 2019

The cold winds are rising, and cold weather illnesses are coming.

No season is a good season to get sick so it is better to prepare your body to prevent any illnesses especially those that are most common during the cold season.

Department of Health (DOH) Spokesman Eric Domingo said flu season is already starting in other countries and is slowly reaching the country. Domingo also advised the public to be more vigilant especially when flu season begins.

“Ang flu season medyo nag-umpisa na sa ibang bansa at dito sa atin medyo parating na rin iyan (Flu season is already in other countries and is slowly making its way into the country) and we really advise everybody to be more extra vigilant kapag ganito na malapit na ang flu season (especially when flu season is almost here),” he said.

But if you are already feeling the flu, here are some remedies you can try.

  • Stay hydrated: Drink warm lemon water, fresh fruit/vegetable juice.
  • Sip hot soup/broth
  • Gargle warm water with salt for your sore throat
  • Drink tea that has anti-viral or anti-bacterial properties (Green or black tea, turmeric fresh or dried ginger, ginger paste, fresh garlic cloves
  • Use humidifier inside your home to prevent the further spread of virus
  • Wear face mask or always cover your mouth while coughing
  • Wash your hands regularly

The DOH also reminds the public not to take medicine without proper doctor’s prescription. The health department also encourages people to get vaccinated.

“Mahirap din po na magkaroon ng komplikayon ang flu, katulad ng pneumonia na maaaring ikamatay ng mga matatanda, (It is difficult to have complications due to the flu or pneumonia which dangerous to the elderly)” Domingo said.—AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

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