The Department of Health-MIMAROPA (DOH-MIMAROPA) conducted a four-day training for sanitary inspectors across the province on November 7-10, 2017.
“The promotion of public health and protection of the community as well as the environment is vital in order to prevent another onset of gastrointestinal outbreak such as diarrhea, cholera and gastroenteritis,” DOH Regional Director Eduardo C. Janairo said.
Last September, the municipal government of Quezon declared a diarrhea outbreak in the town after hundreds from different barangays had been rushed to the municipal hospital.
Government data show Quezon’s diarrhea cases were 79% higher compared to the historical average recorded for the last four years, which were on an average of 359 cases from 2013 to 2016.
Four people died and over 600 were hospitalized before the outbreak was declared under control in October.
“We want all sanitary inspectors and health personnel at the local level to be properly equipped and trained in the organization, management, education, enforcement, consultation, and emergency response for the prevention of environmental health hazards in the community,” Janairo said.
The four-day training centered on identification of pathogens, their signs and symptoms, causes and prevention.
“By recognizing their responsibility and providing them the necessary tools and skills, outbreaks and disease transmission at the local level can be avoided immediately,” Janairo said.
Improper waste disposal is the major cause of the transmission and spread of gastrointestinal infections such as intestinal parasitism, according to the DOH’s Water and Sanitation Division under the Environmental and Occupational Health Office.
The health department added it is also responsible for the water supply sources contamination, resulting to outbreaks of diseases like cholera and gastroenteritis.
Environment factors, such as air and water pollution, sanitation conditions and hygiene practices contribute to the spread of diseases and accounts for 22% of the reported illnesses and 6% of the reported deaths in the country, the DOH added.
“The reality is that open defecation is still being practiced in most areas of the country, especially in provinces where there is lack of access to water supply and inadequate basic sanitation,” Janairo said.
To reduce this practice, the DOH-MIMAROPA has been providing toilet bowls and has distributed a total of 400 pieces in various provinces, including 100 in Quezon town, 60 in Araceli town, and 80 in Puerto Princesa City.