With the onset of the rainy season, Senator and Chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go reminded Filipinos to remain vigilant against dengue and other diseases, such as diarrhea, leptospirosis and influenza, amid the present threat brought by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
“During this time when we are still facing the COVID-19 pandemic, we should also be prepared to prevent and control possible outbreaks of rainy-day diseases by practicing proper hygiene, and cleanliness in our homes and in our surroundings. We should know what to do when there is an increase in number of cases in our areas of residence or in the workplace,” Go explained.
“Our hospitals and health facilities should also be prepared to manage potential cases considering the burden already caused by COVID-19 to our healthcare system,” Go added.
The Senator also echoed the advice of the health department to Filipinos to take advantage of the quarantine protocols to clean their surroundings and prevent the outbreak of other kinds of diseases.
“Malaki po ang epekto ng malinis na kapaligiran sa pag-iwas natin sa mga sakit. Kaya naman gamitin po sana natin ang pagkakataong ito para panatilihin ang kalinisan ng ating kapaligiran,” said Go.
Noting how quick contagious diseases spread and spare no one, Go encouraged Filipinos to clean their surroundings and practice health and safety precautions, not just to protect themselves, but also their loved ones, communities, and the rest of the country.
“Dahil sa ating karanasan sa COVID-19, nakita po natin kung gaano kabilis kumalat ang mga nakahahawang sakit at papaano ito nakaapekto sa pang-araw araw nating pamumuhay. May magagawa po tayo para maiwasan ang pagkalat ng mga ito kung magtutulungan tayo,” Go explained.
Go cited DOH’s 4S strategy against dengue to bolster awareness and prevention from the mosquito-borne disease. “Suyurin at sirain ang mga pinamumugaran ng lamok; Sarili ay proteksyonan laban sa lamok; Sumangguni agad sa pagamutan kapag may sintomas ng dengue; at Sumuporta sa fogging o spraying kapag may banta na ng outbreak.”
He also reminded the public to adhere to the minimum health standards, such as the practice of physical distancing, use of face masks and handwashing during this time of pandemic.
“At this time, there may again be a sudden increase in the number of cases of rainy day diseases among the young and old alike as a result of the spread of viruses and bacteria in relatively enclosed spaces or crowded areas,” he said.
“Bagamat may ulat ang DOH ng pagbaba ng kaso ng dengue sa bansa, manatili pa rin tayong maging vigilant sa dengue at iba uri ng sakit lalo na sa panahon ng COVID-19,” Go said as the Department of Health recently reported that the number of dengue cases in the country from January to May have decreased by 46% relative to the same period last year.
According to the DOH Health Promotion and Communication Service, the decrease in dengue cases in the country may be attributed to vector management, increased awareness, and community participation.
“It is vital that everyone is informed about the status of our communities with regards to the trends of the incidence of these diseases so that our LGUs should take the necessary actions to avoid the occurrence of other outbreaks that will compound our problems in dealing with the COVID-19 situation,” Go said.
Given the looming threat brought by COVID-19, dengue and other diseases, Go has previously urged the government to ensure that public hospitals have adequate bed capacity and capabilities to accommodate Filipinos who could get sick in this time of pandemic.
“As we face the COVID-19 pandemic, it is crucial to improve our government health facilities and prepare ourselves for any health crisis that may arise in the future,” he said.
Go has sponsored in the Senate the passage of several local hospital bills as part of his push to improve the healthcare access for all. Among these measures include four local hospital measures; namely bills upgrading the CARAGA Regional Hospital in Surigao City and increasing its bed capacity; increasing the bed capacity of Bicol Medical Center in Naga City; upgrading the Maria L. Eleazar District Hospital in Tagkawayan, Quezon Province; and renaming Talisay District Hospital in Talisay City, Cebu into Cebu South Medical Center. The bills pertaining to the hospitals in Surigao City, Talisay City and Tagkawayan in Quezon province were recently signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte.
Seven other similar bills being sponsored by Go are pending approval on third reading in the Senate.
Given the lengthy process it takes to upgrade public hospitals, Go has filed Senate Bill 1226, or the proposed DOH Hospital Bed Capacity and Service Capability Rationalization Act, that aims to authorize the DOH to increase the bed capacity and service capability of its retained hospitals and to allow it to promulgate evaluation and approval guidelines.
“Tulungan natin ang DOH na maisaayos ang mga ospital nila para mas maibigay sa mga Pilipino ang nararapat na serbisyong medikal, lalo na sa oras ng pandemya tulad ngayon,” Go said in an earlier statement.
Explaining his determination to champion bills improving healthcare access for all, Go emphasized that it is his duty as a legislator and chair of the health committee to address various healthcare needs of Filipinos.
“It is our duty as legislators to enact measures that would help address the lack of appropriate facilities and equipment in our government hospitals, most especially in these crucial times,” Go said.