Poliovirus detected in 26 of 142 tested environmental samples – DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   November 27, 2019   •   228

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Wednesday confirmed that 26 of the 142 environmental samples sent to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine and the Japan National Institute of Infectious Diseases have tested positive for poliovirus types 1 or 2.

In a statement, the DOH said the samples were collected from Davao City and National Capital Region from July 1 to November 6.

The 142 samples were taken from sewage treatment plants and bodies of water from areas without treatment plants in 39 sites in in National Capital Region, Cordillera Administrative Region, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Davao, Central Mindanao, Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, and Central Visayas.

“The presence of the poliovirus in environmental samples implies that carriers of the virus are continuously shedding in the communities,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque was quoted as saying in the statement.

“If viruses continue to spread from person-to-person in areas with low immunization coverage, the polio virus evolves and regains the ability to cause paralysis,” he added.

With this development, Duque renewed his call on parents and caregivers to have their children below five years old be immunized against polio.

“This is why it is of utmost importance that we vaccinate all children below 5 years old (0-59 months), regardless of their vaccination status,” he said.

Duque earlier urged the public to complete the set of polio vaccinations, which includes three doses of oral polio vaccine and one injected dose of inactivated polio vaccine.

In September, the DOH confirmed the reemergence of poliovirus in the country 19 years after it was declared polio-free by the World Health Organization.

Since then, eight cases of polio have been confirmed this year.

The department said it is currently conducting “Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio” campaign in Metro Manila and in Mindanao, which will run from Nov. 25 to Dec. 7.

Aside from health workers going from house-to-house to administer oral polio vaccine, fixed vaccination posts will also be set-up in communities, the DOH added.

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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