Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Senator Legarda Appeals to the DOH to "Bombard People with right info on swine flu" — YES! — Start with Flight No. of First Confirmed H1N1 Case in RP

27 May 2009

While browsing the Senate website, I ran accross this press release by the office of Senator Loren Legarda.  Senator Legarda is Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography and what she says about the matter is important: 
Press Release
May 22, 2009

Loren asks DOH: Bombard people with right info on swine flu

Senator Loren Legarda yesterday said that Filipinos must take the first confirmed case of swine flu infection in the country calmly, while taking sanitary precautions like the frequent washing of hands and the use of face masks if applicable.

"The Department of Health must seek the help of media - radio, television and newspapers - to disseminate precautionary guidelines and on what should be done when swine flu infection is suspected," said Loren.

"This is one instance when the people wouldn't mind being bombarded with information by DOH. There's no such thing as information overload when it comes to swine flu. But the important thing is that our people are getting the right information."

The chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, Loren added that Filipinos must also work to improve their immune system by exercising, having a balanced diet and getting plenty of rest.

"Being healthy certainly helps in view of reports that most of the 80 deaths worldwide associated with swine flu arose from complications with other ailments," she said.

As the symptoms of swine flu are very similar to common flu cases, Loren said that all Filipinos who feel feverish must immediately seek medical attention.

"The important thing is for us not to disregard symptoms as just a case of the common cold. It's better to err on the side of caution on this matter."

"But what are the symptoms? What should people do, step by step, if they suspect possible infection? The DOH must inform the people because false information can sow panic and complicate our efforts to contain the spread of the virus."

Loren said that the Philippines dealt well with the SARS and avian flu scare, but that health authorities must double their efforts against swine flu.

The senator said health officials must note how the virus quickly spread in Japan from just four confirmed cases to over 200 cases at present in at least three major cities.

Yesterday, before I learned about this press release, I called up the office of Senator Legarda to ask her help in asking the DOH to give the people more information on the H1N1 confirmed cases.  I was told by her staff that Senator Legarda is out of the country but they asked me to communicate with them formally so they can refer the matter to the Senator.

Just today, we have news telling us of Singapore's first confirmed case of H1N1.  What did the Singaporean health authorities do?  UNLIKE THE PHILIPPINES, they informed not just the Singaporean public but the entire world IMMEDIATELY about the flight which brought the patient from New York to Singapore  - the flight is Singapore Airlines SQ 25 which arrived from New York on May 26.  

Dito po sa Pilipinas, hanggang ngayon MYSTERY FLIGHT NO. 1 and MYSTERY FLIGHT NO. 2 for the first two confirmed H1N1 cases.

The DOH wants us to be VIGILANT using GUESSWORK and CONJECTURE.  Hindi po tama ito at dapat tigilan na ng DOH ang pagtrato sa ating mga Pilipino na para tayong mga TANGA! 

Even Tamiflu itself or Oseltamivir, which, in the absence of a vaccine, is the anti-viral drug of choice in combating the effects of H1N1 flu, does not appear to be widely available even now when we already have two confirmed H1N1 cases in the Philippines. I asked a large branch of Mercury Drug yesterday, May 26, in Caloocan City and Tamiflu still costs P150.50 per capsule but they did not have it, referring me instead to their flagship branch in the MCU area. 

Full-course treatment with Tamiflu requires taking ten pills which will cost the patient P1,505.00, something beyond the reach of the vast majority of Filipinos. By now, the DOH should have its stockpile distributed to DOH hospitals at least in key city centers so that people who might need them will have them available for free. The DOH by now should have fully informed us of their plans in this regard.  Tamiflu is most effective against influenza A, which is the type of influenza under which H1N1 falls, if taken during the first two days of the flu. Beyond that, its effectiveness diminishes. The DOH should also have instructed all of us Filipinos about it by now.    

We expect Senator Loren Legarda to speak out publicly, preferably in person, over this vital issue involving public interest as soon as she can! The same goes true for our other Senators, they are welcome to show and express their concern! 

Habang abala po tayo sa pagsubaybay sa Hayden Kho - Katrina Halili scandal, hindi po natin dapat kalimutan ang ibang mahahalagang usapin katulad ng pag-iingat sa H1N1, tuition fee increase moratorium (NA MUKHANG KINALIMUTAN NA NG LAHAT), Pre-Need Scandal hindi lang sa Legacy kundi sa CAP, Permanent Plans, CHA-CHA, VFA, ang mapanganib na bantang pagbubukas ng Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, atbp. 

Gising mga kababayan!  

Lalaban tayo!  

Ganito kami sa Makati!

Ayoko ng may inaabuso! Tulungan natin sila!

Ang KABATAAN dapat aasahan na ng bayan!

Ano pa ba mga slogan natin?!

Mabilis na AKSYON po at SOLUSYON ang kailangan mula sa ating mga opisyal lalo na 'yung magsisitakbo ng Presidente, Bise-Presidente at Senador sa 2010 at hindi slogan lang!



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