Fireworks related injuries drop low in region 10 – DOH

The Department of Health (DOH) region 10 revealed during a press conference on ‘Iwas Paputok’ Surveillance on 5 January 218 that there has been a big drop in the number of fireworks related injuries this year as opposed to previous years in Northern Mindanao.

DOH Iwas Paputok presscon

Dr. David Mendoza of DOH shared that there were only 10 recorded fireworks related injuries in region 10 during the holidays:  six in Bukidnon, two in Misamis Occidental, one in Cagayan de Oro City and one in Iligan City.

However, he said that although there is a big drop this year, number one cause is still piccolo, a type of firecracker that is illegal in the country and that the median case were 10 years old and below. He added that there has to be more aggressive implementation of the law regarding this particular firecracker and parents should be more cautious to let children roam or use firecrackers.

Meanwhile, other firecrackers that caused injuries include fountain and improvised canon. These injuries are blast/burn no amputation, eye injury and gunshot wound.

DOH 10 Regional Director Nimfa Torrizo shared that among the efforts that have contributed to the drop of fireworks related injuries this year is the advocacy and implementation of local government units of the reinforced Executive Order 28 of President Rodrigo Duterte or providing for the Regulation and Control of the Use of Firecrackers and other Pyrotechnic Devices.

For instance, Cagayan de Oro City has put up designated fireworks display areas. Further, she said that this Executive Order 28 of President Duterte has really put an impact in celebrating the holiday season this year with low fireworks related injuries.

Although there has been a drop this year, DOH has remained prepared and ready for any emergencies. Government health services in the region had been ready all throughout. Torrizo is also urging all those who have not consulted the hospital for any firecracker injuries to aid tetanus infection. She explained that this is highly fatal disease if not given right medication. She added that government clinics and hospitals give free tetanus toxoid for all those unreported injuries this holiday season. (JMOR/PIA10)


Chronic malnutrition remains a serious problem in the country, says DOH-10 chief

Though the government has long waged a war on malnutrition, chronic malnutrition has remained a serious problem in the country today.


Regional Director Nimfa Torrizo of the Department of Health (DOH)-10 disclosed this during the 2017 Regional Nutrition Awarding Ceremony and Launching of the Philippine Plan of Action for Nutrition (PPAN) 2017-2022 held at Limketkai Luxe Hotel here recently.

“The 2016 study on malnutrition incidence among children in the country revealed that 34.4 percent are stunted and 7.1 percent are wasted,” Torrizo stressed.

To combat malnutrition the government is pushing for a multi-sectoral collaborative approach to food security and nutrition so that food and proper nutrition are accessible to all especially the poor.


Moreover, Ellen Ruth F. Abella of the Nutrition Surveillance Division of the National Nutrition Council (NCC) has also presented the Philippine Plan of Action for Nutrition (PPAN) 2017-2022, which is consistent with the Duterte administration’s 10-point economic agenda, Philippine health agenda and the development pillars of “malasakit” (protective concern), pagbabago (change or transformation), and “kaunlaran” (development).

PPAN is the country’s plan to end malnutrition and it seeks to curb stunting and wasting among children under five years old. (FPG/PIA)

DOH urges families to have health seeking behavior

The Department of Health (DOH) region 10 during Talakayan sa PIA on ‘Garantisadong Pambata’ on 10 October 2017 urges families to have health seeking behavior by taking advantage of the government health information and micronutrient supplementation including immunization, Vitamin A and deworming drugs.

DOH Garantisadong Pambata 2

Dr. Maria Ellen Santua of DOH region 10 shares that the department is doing all it can to provide nutrition to the young ones. In fact, she said that DOH not only go per barangay to offer health services but ensures that each household be given health, nutrition and environment information and services aged zero to 14 years old.

According to statistics, DOH completed 94% micronutrient coverage in the region. Dr. Santua explained that among the reasons include peace and security of some areas in the region, distance such as in far flung areas, and refusal of families and communities due to religious beliefs.


Dr. Santua admitted that they are still outnumbered by population.  Every day, population grows in the country meanwhile number of health workers remains. Further, she said that DOH will always uphold informed choice and volunteerism. DOH will not force anyone who does not want to take their medicines but assures the public that their vaccines are relatively safe. She added these medicines will not be released unless they have been tested.

She added that even health workers are trained before they are deployed in communities. This is to make sure that they are able to explain to parents the importance of the vaccines or vitamin A and give them right information.


Meanwhile, Jacqueline Roa, Nutrition Program Coordinator of Misamis Oriental shared that what they want to see is behavior change among residents, families and mothers, specifically a health seeking behavior. She said that they encourage mothers to go to health centers even when not ill to get checked.

Meanwhile, Fe Sumagpao, Regional Coordinator of Adolescent Health of DOH region 10 added that DOH has worked with Department of Education (DepEd) in implementing health programs for children aged six to 14 years old. In fact, they have started providing Iron with Folic acid to teenage girls in public high schools.

Sumagapo said this is to prepare girls who will become mothers soon.

Finally, Telesfora Madelo, nutrition dietitian of DOH 10 shares that child’s health is not a mere task of the government but everyone’s responsibility. Everyone has a role to play in taking care of Filipino children including promoting key behaviors like proper hand washing and regular tooth brushing.


She also urged mothers to do their part in taking care of their children by availing of the micronutrient supplementation from DOH. (JMOR/PIA10)

DOH campaigns to find 1M cases of TB nationwide

Department of Health (DOH) through its Tuberculosis-Human Immuno Deficiency Virus (TB-HIV) dissemination forum in Cagayan de Oro City campaigns in aggressively looking for the one million cases of tuberculosis (TB) in the country by switching strategies and changing from “business as usual” to “business unusual.”

Dr. Lyndon Lee Suy, director of Disease Prevention and Control Bureau of DOH shares that the prevalence of TB in our country continuous to be high. Around one million Filipinos are expected to have TB and may or may not know it. Further, more than one-third of TB patients suffer catastrophic cost due to TB at 20% of the family’s annual income.


On the other hand, Dr. Suy explained that the country also has an alarming 140% annual increase in the number of reported cases of HIV. He announced that we are not the highest in terms of number of HIV cases in the Asia Pacific region but we have an alarming increasing rate of the numbers of HIV cases in the region.

Further, DOH has registered more than 45,000 cumulative cases of HIV. To date, there is still no cure of HIV nor vaccine to prevent its transmission. Meanwhile, persons with HIV is 29 times more likely to develop TB than those without HIV. TB is the leading cause of death among people living with HIV. One in five deaths of people with HIV is TB.

He said, our country is aggressively aimed to reduce the burden of TB by 2035. “Look for the 1Million cases of TB in the country” is a standing order of Health Secretary Paulyn Jean Ubial.

Meanwhile, TB and HIV services including treatment are free. Dr. Suy said our health workers are competent and facilities are reliable.

For her part, Dr. Anna Marie Celina Garfin of the National TB program explained that TB is still a major health problem based on the 2016 National TB Prevalence Survey. Around 1% of the population or one million out of 100 million total population of the country has TB. Further, this is found more in males and older age group with history of treatment, smoking, diabetes, poor and urban dwellers. There is also low case notification of TB and a poor health seeking behavior with 81% of presumptive TB are not taking any action or self-medicating; 30% consulted a private sector.

She said that impact targets for 2022 is to reduce the number of TB deaths by 50% from 14,000 to 7,000 deaths; reduce TB incidence rate by 15%, reduce to zero number of TB affected households that experience catastrophic costs due to TB and at least 90% of patients are satisfied with the services of DOTS facilities.


On HIV and AIDS, Dr. Gerard Belimac program manager of National HIV, AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) prevention and control program said that DOH focuses on key populations namely the Male having sex with Male (MSM), female sex workers and people who inject drugs – inclusive of young people. For prevention, DOH includes services such as risk reduction counseling – safer sex, community-based treatment for drug users, outreach focused condom distribution and instruction. Meanwhile, diagnosis includes community-based HIV screening, Free HIV testing and counseling, and rapid HIV testing for pregnant women, key populations and TB patients.

For the treatment, DOH provides interventions such as free anti-retrovirals (ARV), outpatient HIV benefit package (P30,000/patient/year to cover for other expenses). For care, DOH provides psychosocial counseling and treatment adherence counseling.


Patients of either TB or HIV may go to various government health facilities including rural health centers, TB-DOTS centers, 130 social hygiene clinics nationwide, 50 satellite or treatment hubs and community based organizations.

Finally, DOH proposes how communities can help. Companies and employers can institutionalize HIV awareness in workplaces, expand the number of HIV treatment hubs, conduct operations researches to improve programs and integrate HIV counseling services in relevant programs. (JMOR/PIA10) 

Exclusive breastfeeding campaign continues in CDO

In an episode of Talakayan sa PIA on 15 August 2017, Department of Health (DOH) region 10 explained the importance of mothers giving exclusive breastfeeding to their newborn up to six months.

DOH Talakayan 2

This is a crucial stage wherein a mother’s milk is what the baby needs and nothing else. Apart from that, this is where the baby gets all the nutrients and immunity to survive the world outside the womb.

Gilda Ajoc, Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative Program Coordinator of DOH region 10 shared that some mothers might think that they don’t have the milk or that the baby doesn’t like the mother’s milk but in fact all mothers are capable of providing for their baby just fine without the prejudice of taste whatsoever.

She explained that breastfeeding is like supply and demand. Because the mother knows she has to feed an infant, automatically the milk will flow. With the right positioning and mindset, the mother can produce milk.

Meanwhile, Jacqueline Roa, nutrition dietitian of Provincial Health Office Misamis Oriental said that based on their observation, most of the young mothers today are not exclusively breastfeeding their infants from zero to six months. That is why this campaign is crucial to involve every mother and would-be mother in the country.

Statistics shows that exclusive breastfeeding from zero to six months old is decreasing in region 10 for the past years. In 2016, only 70.78 percent mothers have breastfed their child from zero to six months. According to Telesfora Madelo, nutritionist-dietitian of DO- 10 that this is because the women now are working. Although, women should work but they should also continue to breastfeed their children.

In fact, working mothers are given time off by companies to pump milk in a designated area in the office and have a storage facility to keep safe for the baby upon arriving home. DOH is also leading an Infant and Young Child Feeding Task Force wherein they monitor breastfeeding areas in malls, offices and public areas.


Further, Madelo also reiterated about Overview of the Philippine Milk Code (EO51) and its revised Rules and Regulations wherein breastmilk substitutes are not allowed to be marketed for replacement of breastmilk and will not be tolerated for donation. For those violating the code, anyone can report to DOH.

DOH reiterated the breastmilk is the only milk that is complete with all the nutrients a child needs, poor or rich, the content of breastmilk is still the same. Further, no company has yet produced anything close to breastmilk, DOH stressed. (JMOR/PIA10)

Marawi hospital gets go signal to resume operation

The Department of Health (DOH) is doing necessary assessment and inventories to revive its health facility, Amai Pakpak Medical Center in Marawi City, following a go signal from the Philippine Army to resume operation in the area.

ARD Suba-an

In a press conference in Iligan City command and coordinating center, Dr. Adriano Suba-an, assistant regional director of DOH region 10 said that the Philippine army has given them the go signal to resume operation of Amai Pakpak medical center in the area to provide health services to residents and evacuees of Marawi City.

Another good news, he said is that contrary to reports, they don’t have casualties from hospital personnel. Right now, they are planning with the chief of hospital regarding skeletal forces that will be deployed in the center.

“We are doing the assessment and we’re going to do the inventories. And we are going to calibrate our response, deployment based on the operations of the hospital,” said Suba-an.

If there is a need to deploy more, then we will do it,” he said.

“We are happy that we have a go signal from the military because that means the insurance of the safety of our personnel there,” added Suba-an.

Meanwhile, DOH is looking at the whole picture, the long range plan not just with the patients but for the human resources and physical facility of the hospital. Further, he said that health secretary Paulyn Jean Ubial issued a memorandum up to June 13 that all personnel of Amai Pakpak will do some stress debriefing. Some are crying, in trauma. They don’t want to be deployed there.

We would like to give the highest services needed by the people of Marawi, but we would also like to make sure that our personnel is equipped and ready to provide these services, Suba-an explained.

DOH press con

On the other hand, Dr. Alinader Minalang, chief integrated provincial health office Lanao del Sur assured that they have not monitored any pattern of outbreak in the evacuation centers.

This is attributed to the health services we are providing, he said.

Our health personnel who are also evacuees themselves are able to operate our operation center with health emergencies and this is with the help of center for health development of region 10 especially in monitoring our evacuees both home based and in evacuation centers. Twenty five (25%) evacuees are in evacuation centers meanwhile 75% are home based or living with their relatives, Minalang said.

When it comes to diseases observed in the evacuation centers, most of them are due to harsh conditions, such as lack of sanitation facilities. Number one is upper tract respiratory infection, cough, fever, acute gastroenteritis, diarrhea especially on children. Next is hypertension and skin diseases because of congestion and hot temperature. (JMOR/PIA10)

DOH assures health services in Marawi City

Health Secretary Paulyn Jean Ubial in a press conference at the Regional Command and Coordination Center here last June 1 disclosed that the Department of Health (DOH) is now pouring all resources to restore health services in Marawi City.

Ubial said “DOH is fully supportive of all local initiatives and will provide necessary logistics to ensure that our people are provided with health services even in times of conflict.”


“We have mobilized nearly P1million worth of commodities through our regional office in Cagayan de Oro and coming soon is the P1.4M worth of commodities namely drugs and medicines, safe water supply and hygiene kits and other supplies like disinfecting solution for water and test kits. We also provided total of P25 million to various DOH and local government hospitals in the area and provide them with resources to procure supplies and provide necessary treatment for patients including Camp Evangelista hospital of the army,” Ubial maintained.

DOH also ensures that the routine health services like vaccination, TB drugs for patients and other commodities will be restored.

She explained that many of the vaccines and some equipment have been damaged in the Amai Pak Pak Hospital in Marawi City due to blackouts. However, the DOH ready to replace these commodities.

DOH would also provide safe water supply and ensure sanitation in the evacuation centers by providing water tanks and disinfecting solutions.


According to Ubial, DOH is avoiding any outbreaks in these areas. “Right now, top five illnesses include coughs and colds, acute gastroenteritis, hypertension, skin diseases and fever,” she said.

Meanwhile, Dr. Kadil Jojo M. Sinolinding Jr., health secretary of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) said his office is also addressing the water and sanitation problems in the evacuation centers, adding “water filter machines are already setup in these areas.”

The DOH is also monitoring the nutritional status of children five years old and below in the evacuation centers and, at the same time, addressing the evacuees’ mental health by giving psychosocial interventions.

Sinolinding has also called on volunteers who could speak Meranao to help in extending health services to Meranao evacuees.

Meanwhile, National Nutrition Council (NNC)-10 coordinator Marissa Navales revealed that there are severely underweight children in the evacuation centers and they are now being addressed. She also reiterated the “No Milk Donation Policy” in order to promote breastfeeding among mothers.


The DOH in collaboration with Philhealth also committed to provide coverage in hospitalization for IDPs and that the DOH ready to shoulder balances for in-patients in Marawi City and other conflict areas. (JMOR/PIA10)