Following reports of increases in Food and Water-borne Disease (FWBD) cases, and in line with the recent activation of the Inter-Agency Committee on Environment Health (IACEH), Department of Health (DOH) Officer-in-Charge Dr. Maria Rosario Singh-Vergeire met with local chief executives from the provincial government of Maguindanao to help alleviate and address the effects of severe tropical storm #PaengPH and other health concerns in the province.

During the discussions, Maguindanao Governor Bai Mariam Sangki-Mangudadatu showcased local efforts to advance primary care through the provision of outreach primary care services using mobile facilities. On the other hand, the DOH OIC pledged her support to provide medicines and other commodities to aid typhoon relief and service provision efforts, as well as technical assistance for various Universal Health Care (UHC) initiatives, such as the creation of health care provider networks for the province.

“Alam natin na 80% ng mga sanhi ng sakit ay hindi nakadepende sa kalidad ng serbisyong pangkalusugan, kundi nakadepende sa kapaligiran ng bawat isa sa atin. Kaya sa pamamagitan ng primary care na naka-focus sa health promotion, ating tinutugunan ang mga environmental factors na ito–o kung tawagin natin ay social determinants of health–upang masiguro na ang ating mga mamamayan ay magkakaroon ng maayos na health outcomes.” said the Health OIC.

Additionally, the OIC highlighted the DOH's efforts to address social determinants of health, which are the underlying causes of different diseases being experienced by Filipinos, including FWBDs.

"We recently activated the IACEH to discuss how we can all join efforts in preventing increases in cases of food and waterborne diseases across the country. Alam din natin na malaking factor talaga ang environment kung bakit nagkakasakit ang mga kababayan natin, at lalo silang nagiging vulnerable sa mga sakit na ito tuwing dumadaan ang mga bagyo. Kaya kasalukuyan na tayong nagsasagawa ng vulnerability assessment sa iba't ibang rehiyon upang masiguro na anumang sakuna ang dumaan, walang masamang epekto ito sa ating mga kababayan," the DOH OIC assured.

During the meeting, the IACEH member agencies pledged their commitment to collectively work to address the challenges leading to unsafe environments.

"These diseases highlight the importance of addressing the social determinants of health through a whole-of-government and whole-of-nation approach. The DOH can not do this alone. We need to consolidate the efforts of other national government agencies, development partners, and the private sector to develop effective and sustainable strategies to prevent these kinds of outbreaks. All of these diseases are preventable, kaya dapat hindi na natin hinihintay na magkaroon ng outbreak bago tayo umaksyon. Kailangan nating paigtingin ang ating mga preventive measures at tugunan ang mga isyu pagdating sa social determinants of health, tulad ng safe water and sanitation access, upang maprotektahan ang ating mga kababayan," added the Health OIC.