The Provincial Health Office (PHO) is now verifying reports that the number of deaths due to diarrhea in Balabac has climbed to 10 and that 299 residents have already been affected by the outbreak as of February 12.
PHO head Dr. Mary Ann Navarro said Wednesday that there is a need to confirm the information, which Palawan News had obtained from Marine Battalion Landing Team-4 troops stationed in Balabac proper.
“Reliable source yan. Although ‘yong deaths kailangan pa ma-confirm kung due to diarrhea talaga or due to other medical conditions. Mahirap ang signal dun. Yung mga taga-RHU (rural health unit) hirap pumunta sa mga barangay kaya di nila makita yung patient kung di dadalhin sa RHU. Till now wala pa rin report sa amin,” she said.
Based on information collected by the Marines from the RHU, 43 cases with four deaths were recorded in December, two days after Vinta’s onslaught.
This was followed by 169 cases in January with four deaths, and 87 cases on the second week of February with two deaths. The last recorded deaths were on February 2 and February 8.
“Yong sa diarrhea cases sa Balabac, hinihintay namin iyong official reports from the municipal health office. May mga reports kami na increasing daw yong diarrhea cases tapos may deaths din. Ni-report yan ng nurse deployment program (NDP) ng Department of Health (DOH), pero di namin kasi puwedeng i-report iyong something unofficial,” she added.
Navarro said unofficial reports that had reached the PHO only claimed four deaths and 180 cases due to the diarrhea outbreak.
“Yong ni-report kasi sa amin 180 cases as of last week with four deaths. Hindi namin alam iyong iba kasi hindi na-re-report,” the PHO chief said.
She said the MHO needs to send them a list of the residents who died, which their team will verify.
“Mag-report sila noong list ng pasyente na nag-diarrhea tapos kung ano iyong ikinamatay para kami pupunta doon at iko-confirm namin,” she added.
Although reports have not been made due to poor communications signal in Balabac, Navarro said the provincial government has already responded by sending medical supplies, Orisol medicine, IV fluids, and aquatabs to Balabac as early as December.
“Ang province nag-respond na kasi the diarrhea cases came mga two days after Vinta. Nag-IEC (information education campaign) kami doon, nag-WASH (water and sanitation hygiene) lectures, at binigay din natin sa kanila yong pang-disinfect ng water, aquatabs, orisol, pati dextrose – ang dami nating ibinigay doon,” she stated.