31 hospitals on alert for firecracker-related incidents

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/31 Dec) — The Department of Health (DOH) in Region 12 has placed 31 hospitals in the region on alert in connection with the New Year revelries.

Dr. Teogenes Baluma, DOH Region 12 director, said Wednesday that the selected hospitals have been designated as the main treatment and monitoring centers in the area for firecracker-related injury cases and other emergencies in the run-up and during the New Year celebrations.

He said they increased their monitoring sites from six in 2013 to 31 this year to facilitate the proper reporting and handing of firecracker injury cases in the region.

Also known as Southwestern Mindanao or Soccksargen, the region covers the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.

“We want to get a clearer picture in terms of firecracker injuries so we expanded our monitoring to 31 hospitals,” Baluma said.

The official said the monitoring sites comprise 18 national and local government-run hospitals and 13 private hospitals within the region’s four provinces and five cities.

He said they have assigned six of the 31 hospitals as the main monitoring stations or facilities.

These are the General Santos City hospital and the St. Elizabeth Hospital in this city; South Cotabato Provincial Hospital in Koronadal City; Sultan Kudarat Provincial Hospital in Isulan, Sultan Kudarat; North Cotabato Provincial Hospital in Kidapawan City; and, Cotabato Regional Medical Center in Cotabato City.

Baluma said the 31 hospitals have trained staff or personnel to handle firecracker-related injuries.

“They were mandated to immediately report online all firecracker injuries to our central office and also furnish copies to the regional office,” he said.

As of Tuesday, the DOH-12’s regional epidemiology and surveillance unit listed the validated firecracker-related injuries in the region at 42.

North Cotabato posted the most number of cases with 17; South Cotabato with 13; this city with eight; and, Sultan Kudarat and Sarangani with two each.

Of the 42 victims, it said 39 were males and three were females. Twenty seven were aged 12 years-old and below and 15 were 13 years-old and above.

Forty of the victims were outpatients and nearly 70 percent of the injuries were caused by the banned piccolo firecracker. (MindaNews)