Philippines: Anti-cholera efforts ramped up as cases increase

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Based on data monitoring of the Department of Health (EB) Bureau of Epidemiology, 6,126 cholera cases were reported from January 1 to December 10, 2022. Despite this, no local government declared an outbreak as cases remained manageable thanks to coordination Close between hospitals and the health department in the follow-up and treatment of patients.

photo/CDC

“We have several teams on the ground to treat our current cholera cases, while we strengthen our nationwide surveillance and response systems further,” said Dr. Maria Rosario Singh Verger, Secretary in Charge of the Ministry of Health. She emphasized that the Ministry of Health is working to urgently improve our systems to reduce the impact of natural disasters on the health of our nation.

Among many other causes due to natural disasters in 2022, cases were 287% higher than reported cases during the same period in 2021 (1,584). Most of these cholera cases were reported from District Eight (3773), District Eleven (810) and District Three (355).

Nationally, 74 deaths have been reported (case fatality rate = 1.2%). This is higher compared to the case fatality rate of 0.8% in the same period last year. To reduce this number, the department provides the necessary assistance to critical areas to ensure that patients have access to treatments and clean drinking water.

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Since cholera is caused by ingesting contaminated food or water, a whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach is warranted. The department closely coordinates with stakeholders through the Interagency Committee on Environmental Health (IACEH).

The Department is constantly improving its strategies in implementing existing programs and activities on water and sanitation in addressing food and water-borne diseases in the Philippines by coordinating and allocating resources of all IACEH member agencies to improve water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services. In accordance with their mandates and the continuous promotion of the health of individuals in all settings (including communities, schools and workplaces), to reduce their risk behaviors leading to diarrheal diseases.

In all settings, the Ministry of Health, through its Centers for Health Development (CHDs) and Local Government Units (LGUs) implement drinking water quality monitoring programs on an ongoing basis to ensure the safety of drinking water from the water source through the watershed all the way to the consumer. In addition to these health programs to ensure the elimination of open defecation practices and to ensure the proper disposal of feces and sewage waste. Finally, the Ministry of Health strongly advocates safer food preparation and storage especially at the household level to prevent the multiplication of pathogens.



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