DOH RAMPS UP ANTI-CHOLERA EFFORTS AMID REPORTS OF GLOBAL INCREASE

Press Release | 18 December 2022

Based on the data surveillance of the DOH Epidemiology Bureau (EB), there were 5,860 cholera cases reported from January 1 to November 26, 2022. Despite this, no local governments have declared an outbreak as cases remained manageable thanks to the close coordination of hospitals and the Health Department in monitoring and treating patients.

“We have many teams on-ground addressing our current cholera cases, while we further strengthen our surveillance and response systems nationwide,” said DOH Secretary Officer-in-Charge Dr. Maria Rosario Singh-Vergeire. She emphasized that the DOH has been working to urgently improve our systems to lessen the impact of natural disasters on our nation’s health.

Among many other causes brought about by natural calamities this year, cases in 2022 were 282% higher compared to the reported cases during the same period in 2021 (1,534). Most of these cholera cases were reported from Region VIII (3,620 or 62%), Region XI (810 or 14%), Region III (336 or 6%).

In the recent four weeks (October 30 to November 26, 2022) where 640 cholera cases were recorded, the following regions reported the highest number of cases: Region VIII (472 or 74%), Region VI (50 or 8%), and Region III (37 or 6%).

Nationally, there were 67 deaths reported (Case Fatality Rate=1.1%). This is higher compared to the case fatality rate of 0.8% in the same period last year. To reduce this number, the Department has been providing the necessary assistance to critical areas to ensure patients have access to treatments and clean drinking water.

As cholera is caused by ingestion of contaminated food or water, a whole-of-government, whole-of-society approach is warranted. The Department is in close coordination with concerned agencies through the Inter-Agency Committee on Environmental Health (IACEH).

The Department is continuously improving its strategies in implementing existing programs and activities on water and sanitation in addressing Food and Water Borne Diseases in the Philippines by coordinating and allocating the resources of all IACEH member agencies in improving their water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services in accordance with their mandates and continuous promotion of the health of individuals in all settings (including communities, schools and workplaces), to reduce their risk behaviors leading to diarrheal diseases.

In all settings, the DOH, through the Centers for Health Developments (CHDs) and Local Government Units (LGUs) are continuously implementing drinking water quality surveillance programs to ensure drinking water safety from all the way from water source and catchment up to the consumer. In addition to these are sanitation programs to ensure that open defecation practices are eliminated and to ensure proper disposal of feces and sewage waste. Finally, the DOH strongly advocates for safer food preparation and storage especially at the household level to prevent pathogens from reproducing.

“Social determinants of health plays a major role in health outcomes as the environment and scenario shapes how potential diseases affect us – kaya nating pahintuin ang pagkalat ng Cholera sa ating lipunan sa pamamagitan ng ilang mga paalala na pwede nating sundin – we must frequently wash our hands and disinfect surfaces. Atin ding siguruhing ang tubig na iinumin ay malinis, filtered, at disinfected gayunding masigurong ang mga pagkain ay properly cooked at hindi hilaw o na cross-contaminate. Lastly, food items should be stored in cool and dry containers upang maiwasang mapanis ito,” reminded OIC Health Chief Dr. Maria Rosario Singh-Vergeire.

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