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Parents urged to avail free vaccination for children vs. Japanese encephalitis

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Tuesday, February 5th, 2019

PAMPANGA, Philippines – Architect Neil Licayan lost his daughter to Japanese encephalitis (JE).

Neil remembered Jessica, then 15 years old, as a sporty, young athlete before her health started to deteriorate when she suffered from the disease.

Jessica died in 2018.

“She was active sa school. She was athletic. Dito po sa aming munting rest house, lahat ng gusto niya we play basketball together. She loved swimming in school and she was the most diligent among us sa pag intake po ng vitamins,” Neil said.

Neil recalled how swift the complications began to appear from what they initially thought was an ordinary headache, though her fever went on and off for two to three days.

“Typical lagnat so we were not that concerned,” he said.

“(It was) Saturday, (we went for her) check up. Naglalakad sa school ipapa-IV lang po namin siya para kasi final exams just so makabawi ang strength niya. Sunday morning comatosed na po ang anak ko and Tuesday wala na po siya. Ganoon kabilis,” he added.

The Department of Health (DOH) Region 3 warned parents to monitor their children especially if they show flu-like symptoms.

“Ang sintomas ng Japanese encephalitis ay katulad rin ng marami. Kapag ikaw ay nagkaka-trangkas or flu-like (symptoms) – mayroon siyang lagnat, nananakit ang kasukasuan, masakit ang ulo – sa mga bata kadalasan sumasakit ang kanilang tiyan,” explained Dr. Maria Rosario Vergerie.

“Maaari mo siyang ihalintulad sa ibang sakit na parang mga trangkaso,” she added.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reported an average of 40,000 patients dying of Japanese encephalitis every year where three patients out of 10, die of the disease.

In most cases, the WHO said, patients develop permanent disabilities such as paralysis, speech impairment and mental defects.

Based on DOH record, the highest number of Japanese encephalitis infection in the country in 2018 was recorded in Region 3 with 308 confirmed cases and 9 deaths.

“One of the reasons na mataas sa Region 3, ang central Luzon is the rice granary. So maraming palayan, marami tayong poultries na gustong gusto ng JE mosquito,” explained Dr. Jessie Fontane, Head of the DOH Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit.

“Medyo delikado po talaga yung Japanese encephalitis dahil po siya ay nakamamatay,” said DOH regional director Dr. Cesar Cassion.

Because of this, the DOH Region 3 will conduct a one-time mass immunization campaign on JE for free in seven provinces in the month of March which targets one million children age 9 months to 5 years-old who are the most vulnerable age group.

A vaccination is a lifetime protection for a child that’s why the agency is encouraging parents to get their children vaccinated.

The DOH assured the public that the government’s immunization program is safe and tested.

“Pero based naman doon sa mga track record ng mga bakuna na ito, more than 30 years na itong ginagamit in 12 countries. Gusto lang (natin) i-emphasize na 400 million doses na po ang naibigay. Based naman dun sa kasaysayan na ito, sa experience na ito na safe po ito at saka proven,” Cassion assured.

Japanese encephalitis is an infection spread through mosquito bites. It is a serious disease which takes 5 up to 15 days to develop. Symptoms include fever, headache, vomiting, difficulty moving and confusion. It can be fatal if not immediately attended. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Leslie Huidem)

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DOH conducts psychological debriefing for earthquake victims in Porac

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Thursday, April 25th, 2019

Rescuers rush survivors to safety after a 6.1 magnitude earthquake on April 22, 2019 caused a four-storey supermarket in Porac, Pampanga to collapse

The Department of Health (DOH) has begun conducting psychological debriefing in Porac, Pampanga for victims of the 6.1 magnitude earthquake that hit Luzon and Metro Manila on April 22.

The DOH said that the mental and emotional state of an individual are also severely affected by calamities, hence the need to conduct a psychological debriefing.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III explained that a victim’s state might worsen if they are not assessed and debriefed by social health workers or barangay health workers.

“Pwedeng humantong sa anxiety attack or panic iyong mga taong nakaranas ng malubhang takot doon habang nangyayari ang lindol. Minsan hindi sila nakakatulog matapos iyon. Iyong post-traumatic, trauma disorder, may solusyon po tayo diyan, ito iyong psycho-social debriefing, (It might lead to anxiety attack or panic. Sometimes, they might experience insomnia. It is called post-traumatic disorder. The solution is psycho-social debriefing)” Duque said.

The health department also advise relatives or friends to assist their loved ones who experienced trauma after a calamity such as an earthquake.—Aileen Cerrudo (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

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DOH warns vs testimonials on herbal cure for cancer

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Wednesday, April 17th, 2019

Stock photo from Pixabay

The Department of Health (DOH) warns against testimonials circulating on Facebook about herbal supplements curing cancer.

According to DOH cancer program manager Clarito Cairo, testimonials are weak evidence so they are not considered acceptable.

The DOH made the statement due to reports that some cancer patients preferred to used herbal supplements and stopped taking their medication.

Cairo added that there aren’t enough claim to support that herbal supplements can help in curing cancer.

“There are anecdotes saying that they are proven safe and effective, there’s not enough evidence. And then some patients would go back to their oncologists since they have developed complications,” Cairo said.

A recent study showed that patients using Complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) such as herbal supplements had worse survival than patients who did not use CAM.

“Unless we know what’s in [the herbal supplements], I would recommend patients avoid using them during radiation because [certain supplements] could interfere with treatment,” according to Dr. Nina Sanford, one of the authors of the study. — Aileen Cerrudo


DOJ clears Ubial on Dengvaxia case

by Maris Federez   |   Posted on Thursday, April 4th, 2019

Former Health Secretary Paulyn Jean Rosell-Ubial

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has dismissed a criminal complaint against former Health Secretary Paulyn Jean Rosell-Ubial on the controversial Dengvaxia case.

Ubial was one of the Department of Health former and present officials who were accused of being liable in the deaths of school children who got inoculated with the anti-dengue vaccine Dengvaxia.

In a seven-page resolution signed by Assistant State Prosecutor Claire Eufracia Pagayanan, the DOJ said it found no probable cause to charge Ubial with reckless imprudence resulting in homicide based on the complaint filed by former Health Secretary Janette Garin.

The resolution reads, “considering that Garin failed to show the existence of the corpus delicti of the crime of reckless imprudence resulting to homicide, the complaint against Ubial shall be dismissed for lack of probable cause.”

The DOJ explained that in order to establish Ubial’s liability on the crime charged there must be a direct causal connection between such negligence and the reported deaths.

The resolution further pointed out that “Garin failed to name a single victim who reportedly died as a result of Ubial’s alleged negligent approval and implementation of community-based Dengue immunization program.”

In her complaint, Garin stressed that the Department of Health (DOH) implemented a school-based dengue immunization program but, when Ubial took over, there was a reckless decision to have it expanded into a community-based program which resulted in the reported deaths.

“Deaths were reported soon after the implementation of Sec. Ubial’s Community-Based Dengue Immunization Program. It must be emphasized that the deaths started during Sec. Ubial’s term as DOH Secretary and afterwards,” Garin pointed out.

Garin further said that the DOH, during her time, preferred the school-based dengue immunization program “because the physical and organizational structure of such a program is already in place considering that Dengvaxia is already the sixth (6th) vaccine introduced in schools.”

It can be recalled that on February 11, the DOJ inked a resolution of finding probable cause to charge Garin and nine other Health officials on the Dengvaxia vaccine mess. – Maris Federez

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