ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/12 February) – The City Health Office here has stepped up efforts to ensure that evacuees, the bulk of which are staying at the sports complex and R.T. Lim Boulevard, are in good health condition.
Dr. Rodelin Agbulos, city health officer, said this came about after his office has recorded 81 deaths in the evacuation centers since September last year, when trouble erupted when forces loyal to Moro National Liberation Front chairman Nur Misuari attacked the city.
Agbulos disclosed that the prevalent causes of death include pneumonia, asthma attack, cardiac arrest, cancer, abdominal mass, stroke, dehydration and enlargement of the heart, among others.
The Joaquin Enriquez Memorial Sports Complex serves as the biggest evacuation center while the entire stretch of R.T. Lim Boulevard serves as home to the hundreds of Bajao families on tents.
Agbulos said the efforts include daily consultations at temporary health centers and monitoring of health status of senior citizens feeding activities and advocacies to mothers on the importance of nutrition; environmental cleanliness by sanitary inspectors and advocacy for maintaining cleanliness and early consultation for IDPs with diseases.
Agbulos said that a bunkhouse is made available for senior citizens at the sports complex with monitoring done by personnel from his office and the Philippine Red Cross (PRC)-Zamboanga City chapter.
He said early consultations for early management is a major pre-emptive step to prevent health complications that could lead to death, thus the continuous advocacy for early consultations.
Tent-to-tent medical consultations are also being undertaken, Agbulos added.
He said that distribution of hygiene kits as well as medicines and supplies in different evacuation centers and medical consultations with physicians from the City Health Office at the three temporary health centers located in front of the sports complex are also continuous.
Mayor Ma. Isabelle Climaco-Salazar stressed that an all-encompassing solution to health problems in evacuation centers is the swift movement of IDPs to transitory sites where convenience and safety is assured.
Salazar said the city government is exhausting all means to negotiate and eventually purchase lots for temporary or permanent shelters for the families displaced by the siege in September last year.
The siege started last September 9 when hundreds of MNLF members loyal to Misuari infiltrated this city.