Monday, January 9, 2017

DOH-Bicol exec says 37% decrease in firecracker injuries may be due to rains, typhoon
By Jorge Hallare

LEGAZPI CITY, Jan. 6 (PNA) -- A top official of the Department of Health (DOH) in Bicol noted that the “almost daily rains and typhoon Nina” may have contributed to the 37-percent decrease in firecracker injuries reported during this year’s Yuletide celebration compared to last year.

Dr. Napoleon L. Arevalo, DOH-Bicol director, in a media briefing Friday, said during a two-week surveillance period that started December 21, 2016 and ended Jan. 5, rural health units (RHU) and hospitals had reported a total of 77 cases of firecracker injuries compared to the previous year’s 123 cases.

He said had there been no typhoon or rains “I think the (firecracker) incidents will be more than 77 cases but I am sure it will less than last year's 123 cases."

Arevalo said aside from the RHUs there were three so-called sentinel hospitals monitored for the cases. These were the Josefina Belmonte District Hospital in Ligao City, Ziga District Memorial Hospital in Tabaco City and Bicol Regional Teaching and Training Hospital in Legazpi City—-all in Albay.

He said by age group, the 13-20-year-old age group had the most number of injuries while “Piccolo” stood as the leading injury-causing firecracker.

Arevalo said Albay had the highest number of cases with 44 followed by Masbate-22, Camarines Sur-7, Camarines Norte-4. There were zero cases reported in Catanduanes and Sorsogon.

He said he is very happy with the result of this year's campaign called “Aksyon: Paputok Injury Reduction” or APIR which emphasized that there could be revelry by watching fireworks display “in a common exhibition area” instead of lighting up firecrackers.

In Albay, for a period of two months from November to December, the Provincial Health Office bannered the slogan “umiwas sa digrasya, ligtas na pagdiriwang” (avoid danger, have a safe celebration) in multi-media presentations to public elementary and high schools which have a large population and in one or two barangays in each municipality where a large number of firecracker victims were reported last year, to promote APIR’s advocacy.

Arevalo thanked the concerted efforts not only of the DOH personnel but the support of local government units (LGUs), Philippine National Police, Bureau of Fire and Protection and its media partners which echoed APIR’s advocacy.

Aida Naz, director of the Philippine Information Agency in Bicol suggested that there should be a memorandum of agreement in October or two months before the Yuletide celebration, which will be signed by DOH-5, LGUs and various government agencies so APIR’s advocacy could be successfully implemented in all barangays for next year’s Yuletide revelry. (PNA) LAP/GVR/JH/CBD/RSM