No disease outbreak in typhoon-hit areas — DOH-11

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/ 5 January) — The concerted efforts of the Department of Health-Region 11 (DOH-11), local government units and non-government organizations have prevented any disease outbreak in areas affected by Typhoon Pablo, a health official said Friday.

Dr. Abdullah Dumama Jr., DOH-11 regional director, said in a phone interview that there has been no disease outbreak, despite expectations that an outbreak would occur in calamity-stricken areas especially on the third week.

It has been a month since Pablo devastated the provinces of Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental last December 4.

Dumama said in avoiding outbreak such as measles and diarrhea, they conducted massive vaccinations among five- to six-year old children in the affected communities.

He cited that the municipalities of New Bataan and Compostela in Compostela Valley were some of the areas that had anti-measles vaccinations, after they received reports of such cases there.

In preventing diarrhea outbreak, the DOH has helped in treating water systems in the affected areas, and provided water containers for the people’s safe drinking, Dumama added.

Dumama also said that anti-tetanus vaccines were also given to the residents, although he had not known of any reported case of tetanus as yet.

In the Cateel District Hospital, which has been taken over by the Davao Regional Hospital (DRH) to assist the typhoon victims, most patients attended to at the tent inside the compound were given anti-tetanus vaccines.

Most of them were wounded from splintered woods, broken glasses and nails while they were rebuilding structures and cleaning up debris.

Volunteer doctors in the district hospital told MindaNews on Thursday that the makeshift clinic intended for check ups and admissions had an average of 200 to 300 patients a day.

There were 11 volunteer doctors in the district hospital, Marites Estrelloso, the head nurse on-duty in the Cateel District Hospital, said in a text message Friday.

At the hospital, there had been 45 patients, 19 of them admitted, she said, adding that most of their illnesses were pneumonia and dehydration as of Friday afternoon.

Common illnesses among typhoon victims were upper respiratory tract infections such as cough and colds, but they are not alarming, Dumama told MindaNews.

He said that many doctors and specialists from the Southern Philippines Medical Center and the DRH had taken rounds in the district hospitals in Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental.

Some doctors were volunteers from public hospitals in Zamboanga, Sulu and Basilan, Dumama added.

He said that the DOH aims to restore health centers back to normal in Pablo-hit areas by repairing barangay health centers and district hospitals, and providing the medical tools and equipment destroyed or lost to typhoon.

“Unless we attained the normalcy, we will not leave the affected areas,” he said. (Lorie Ann A. Cascaro/MindaNews)