DOH deploys health teams to stave off disease outbreaks

Health secretary Enrique Ona ordered Friday the deployment of health teams to all flood-affected areas in the National Capital Region (NCR), Central Luzon and the Southern Tagalog region to determine the health status of displaced families and address priority health needs.

“Health teams from the Department of Health will provide medical consultations and public health services combined to localities flooded due to the southwest monsoon”, Ona said.

The Department of Health (DOH) is working with local governments by augmenting supplies of essential medicines including antibiotics, oral rehydration salt solution and vitamin A for children. The DOH is also providing public health services to ensure adequate and safe water supply, toilet facilities and proper waste disposal in all evacuation centers.

“Our health teams are assisting our local governments in delivering health services for their constituents, thus providing a small window of opportunity for them to completely recover”, Ona explained.


So far, more than 2,000 were found ill in evacuation centers and health centers in NCR, Central Luzon and the Southern Tagalog region. As of August 9, 2012, the leading causes of consultations were acute respiratory infections, febrile illness, skin diseases, minor injuries and diarrhea. Acute respiratory infections comprise 60% of these consultations. No outbreaks were detected.

The DOH is also regularly assessing the health status of evacuation centers to ensure the effectiveness of camp management. Early decamping or providing resettlement will most likely decrease health risks.

“Better camp management in evacuation centers will ensure that disease outbreaks will be prevented,” Ona stressed.

Meanwhile, Secretary Ona explained that the use of doxycycline to prevent Leptospirosis is not recommended for individual use but only for large populations who remain under threat of exposure in contaminated floodwaters or muddy environments. DOH will provide free doxycycline for individuals engaged in rescue and relief efforts and residents staying in evacuation centers.

The supply and prices of essential medicines, including antibiotics such as amoxicillin and doxycycline remain stable as of now. The public is assured that the DOH has set prices of paracetamol, salbutamol, amoxicillin, and clarithromycin.

Press release from the Department of Health