Friday, June 16, 2017

86% of 20-M poor Filipinos availed of DOH's free checkup, says Sec. Ubial
By Jorge Hallare

LEGAZPI CITY, June 15 (PNA) —- Some 86 percent of the 20 million poor Filipinos nationwide have availed of free medical consultation and checkup since the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte launched the health program last year and made it accessible to the poor.

This was stated by Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Pauline Jean Ubial during a press conference at noontime today at Daguinsin Hall at the Department of Health Regional Office in Bicol (DOH-5) here in this city where she led the 7th ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Dengue Day celebration.

Ubial said DOH chose the poorest 20 million from among over 105 million total population in the Philippines, who could qualify under the program, because the budget of the government cannot provide for all.

She said out of the 20 million ,over 50,000 with various illnesses are scheduled to undergo free surgical procedures on June 1 in all hospitals owned and run by DOH and local government units.

She added there will be another medical consultation on July 1 which targets to provide for another batch of 20 million poor Filipinos.

Ubial said by which time, the program would have rendered free medical consultation service to a total of 40 million poor Filipinos for the second year of implementation of the program.

The DOH targets to include PhilHealth (Philippine Health Insurance Corp.) in the program so that it will be the latter which will pay for the medical consultation of other people seeking services in various government-run hospitals.

“This is because DOH wants to include the most number of Filipinos, whether rich or poor, who could be given appropriate medical services,” she said.

In Bicol, Dr. Napoleon Arevalo, DOH-Bicol director, reported they have implemented a free medical consultation program for the poorest members of the population in the region.

“Out of the more than five million population in Bicol, DOH-Bicol was able to serve the poorest 1.4 million Bicolanos in various communities,” he said.

Arevalo said the 1.4 million received free medical consultation in various DOH- and LGU-run hospitals in the region with support from some private hospitals.

“Most of them will undergo free surgical procedures, including those with cases of cleft lip and cleft palette,” he said.

DOH-Bicol was honored by DOH as a “topnotcher” among all the regions nationwide because of the “successful implementation” of its free medical check-up campaign.

Ubial said that with regards to the government’s free medicine program, DOH has started giving medicine in the entire country with help from the local health centers, rural health centers and other government-run hospitals.

“The government has allotted nearly PHP3 billion to DOH for free medicines for illnesses such as hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, tuberculosis and others,” she said.

On the other hand, the government gave PHP1 billion to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) so it could help DOH distribute the free medicines for the poor which are in DSWD’s list. (PNA)

Ubial wants sustained fight vs dengue despite 32% drop in cases this year
By Connie B. Destura

LEGAZPI CITY, June 15 —- The Philippines has shown a nearly one-third decrease in dengue cases this year compared to the previous year but there should be no let up in the country’s efforts to reduce the number of cases, according to Health Secretary Dr. Paulyn Jean B. Rosell-Ubial.

"We need to work together and join in the campaign to eradicate dengue cases in our society,” said Ubial who was here today for the 7th ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Dengue Day.

Citing DOH data, she said there was a 31.8-percent decrease in dengue cases this year compared to last year, from 211,000 cases in 2016 to 143,902 cases in 2017.

Ubial said the call of the World Health Organization (WHO) is to have a 50-percent reduction in dengue cases by 2020.

She said the Philippines is among the countries in Asia and the Pacific which have a high prevalence of dengue cases.

“We bear nearly 75 percent of the global burden of dengue,” Ubial said.

She said with WHO’s help, the country has developed a dengue and prevention control program, a strategic plan covering 2017 to 2022, that will be rolled out to all areas of the country.

Ubial said the plan uses the 4S strategy against dengue or what is referred to as --“Search and Destroy,” “Seek Early Consultation,” “Self-Protection” and “Say No to indiscriminate fogging.”

The “ASEAN Dengue Day,” which enjoins the active participation of people in the communities for a more effective anti-dengue response, is an annual advocacy campaign that started in 2011 among the ASEAN countries that are committed to the prevention and control of dengue.

Undersecretary of Health Dr. Gerardo Bayugo and Dr. Guindo Weiler, WHO representative to the Philippines, officials from the Department of Education in Bicol and local government units in Albay graced today’s celebration here along with Ubial.

There was also a display of booths showcasing the good practices of all the provinces in the region with regards to dengue prevention and control while the winning entries in the dengue short film contest were also presented and adjudged.

But the highlight of today’s activities was the blessing of the “Public Health Laboratory and Regional Insectary” within the compound of the Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital (BRTTH) located in this city.

During a forum at the DOH-Bicol office on June 8 held as a prelude to today’s celebration, DOH-Bicol Director Napoleon Arevalo said the “insectary” is a facility that seeks to study mosquitoes and other insects that have “medical importance.”

“It will study insects like mosquitoes that bring about such diseases as dengue, malaria and chikungunya,” he said.

He added the goal of DOH is for the laboratory facility to serve as a diagnostic center for these diseases in the same manner as how the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine or RITM is operating for certain types of illnesses.

“Bicol is one of the pilot areas for such a diagnostic center,” said Dr. Arevalo.

In the same June 8 forum, Ma. Cecilia Pan, coordinator of the dengue prevention and control program in Bicol noted a 25 decrease in dengue cases from January 1 to June 3 this year compared to the same period last year.

“There were 738 cases recorded in 2016 compared to 555 cases in 2017,” she said. Pan added that among the six Bicol provinces, Camarines Norte showed the biggest decrease at 57 percent, followed by Albay at 42 percent and Catanduanes at 41 percent.

Arevalo said he would like to believe the decrease could be attributed to the effective partnership of DOH-Bicol with the Department of Science and Technology-Bicol and the local government units in developing and adopting a technology that measures the “density” of dengue cases in various communities in the region. (PNA)