Davao City to hold Ebola awareness summit

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/19 October) — The City Health Office will be hosting an Ebola awareness summit Tuesday afternoon at the Marco Polo Hotel at the request of City Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte, CHO head Josephine Villafuerte said.

Villafuerte said in a telephone interview Sunday that Duterte wanted the CHO to undertake a massive information campaign on Ebola.

She added the city council committee on health also asked for a unified response from the city’s health agencies against the disease.

Villafuerte said the CHO was monitoring possible cases of Ebola contamination among patients in local hospitals.

She said they have invited speakers from the Department of Health for the summit.

“We also want to know if our existing systems will be able to meet the challenge posed by Ebola,” she said.

The official warned the disease should not be taken lightly because it is highly contagious.

“How many respirators do we have, in case there are positive cases?” Villafuerte said.

She added that the response to a particular case of Ebola contamination must take note of the time the diagnosis is made until the submission of information to the DOH.

Last week, Councilor Mary Joselle Villafuerte said she was directly coordinating with the DOH, noting that the country’s international airports do not have equipment to detect any potential carriers.

“At NAIA terminals 1, 2 and 3, there have been no visible response or screening of incoming passengers,” the councilor said.

She said the Francisco Bangoy International Airport has already installed a thermal scanner to check if any of the incoming passengers showed symptoms of the disease.

All arriving passengers would also be required to fill out a card that would trace their travel history.

The Southern Philippines Medical Center has an isolation facility where Ebola cases can be contained and observed.

CHO’s Villafuerte, meanwhile, said there should be enough personal protective equipment for health workers at the Southern Philippines Medical Center, where an isolation ward has been set up in case someone tests positive for the disease.

According to the World Health Organization, the disease can be spread from one person to another through bodily fluids.

Symptoms include fever, fatigue, muscle pains, headache, and sore throat, followed by vomiting, diarrhea, rashes, impaired kidney and liver function, and possibly even internal and external bleeding.

Earlier this month, two health workers from Dallas, Texas in the US tested positive for Ebola after contacts with a patient who eventually died from the disease. (MindaNews)