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DOH warns public against self-medication, antibiotic misuse

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Thursday, November 22nd, 2018

MANILA, Philippines – Health Secretary Francisco Duque III calls on the public anew to do away with the self-medication practice but to go to public health centers or private hospitals instead to consult and to obtain proper diagnosis or prescription.

Duque’s call came amid the increasing threat of antimicrobial resistance.

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines antimicrobial resistance as the ability of a microorganism to stop a microbial such as antivirals, antibiotics, and antimalarials from working against it.

Based on the latest report of the WHO, about 700,000 people die each year due to antimicrobial resistance.

The international health body fears this number will rise to 10 million by 2050.

The WHO says antimicrobial resistance is a serious global health concern as it compromises the ability to treat infectious diseases as well as undermines many other advances in medicine in both human and animal health.

“Tanggalin po natin ang self-medication behavior natin. Kasi hindi naman po kayo nagpakadalubhasa na nag- aral para maging doctor. Kapag kayo po ay naresetahan ng gamot, antibiotics lalong lalo na ay mangyari lang po na buoin po natin ang reseta at huwag po natin pini-piraso,” Duque advised.

Health officials say a patient should strictly follow the doctors’ prescription to avoid microbial resistance which occurs due to the misuse of antibiotics.

A person suffering from colds and other common illnesses should also refrain from using antibiotics.

“Many people believe that antibiotics are general medicine that should be used whenever there’s an infection but that is not true. Antibiotics are very powerful drugs that need to be used very carefully and very targeted manner,” explained Dr. Gundo Weiler, WHO Country Representative.

Aside from its effects on human health, the animal sector is also facing threats of antimicrobial resistance as some small-scale poultry raisers tend to abuse the use of antibiotics, according to the bureau of animal industry.

Some poultry raisers believe that the use of antibiotics in food will help their animals grow faster and bigger.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) prohibits this practice as animals might become antimicrobial resistant and develop harmful diseases that might be transmitted to humans upon consumption.

This is the reason why the department of health and the department of agriculture are planning to regulate the use of antibiotics in animals.

“Although we have a list of all the agricultural suppliers, they can freely sell. There’s no restriction as of the moment. We have no law banning the sale of antibiotics for animals. That’s what we would want to have in the nation, an antimicrobial plan,” Dr. Jocelyn Salvador of BAI concluded. – Aiko Miguel

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DOH, health advocates push for higher tax on cigarettes

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Friday, October 12th, 2018

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) and several health advocates are calling on the  immediate passage of a measure that would increase the taxes on cigarettes.

No less than Health Secretary Francisco Duque III led a forum on Friday (October 12) to campaign and push the Senate Committee on Ways and Means chaired by Senator Sonny Angara to increase the amount of excise tax on cigarette items.

Duque emphasized that the proposal would help minimize the number of smokers and patients who fall ill and die because of smoking cigarettes.

“The ultimate goal of the DOH is understanding that the Sin Tax law must proceed with the angle of health and

The group urges Senate to consider a P60.00 or P90.00 in tax to each pack of cigarettes.

Based on a prior study on the impact of the measure, around one to two million smokers would be encouraged to quit once the proposal becomes a law.

“Kapag tumaas kasi ang presyo siempre magkakaroon iyan ng impact sa demand, sa consumption at magkakaroon din iyan ng impact sa number of smokers,” Duque said.

The Health Secretary already forwarded a letter to President Rodrigo Duterte requesting him to certify as urgent the proposed increase in excise tax on cigarettes.

Aside from health reasons, the DOH believes that the additional tax on cigarettes will help support the implementation of the Universal Healthcare Bill once it is enacted into law. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Joan Nano.)

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DOH warns hospital staff: Respect your patients or face charges

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Friday, August 17th, 2018

Department of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III

BULACAN, Philippines – Patient satisfaction is an important factor in assessing the quality of services a hospital provides.

That is why Health Secretary Francisco Duque III cannot simply accept the poor performance rating of hospital employees nationwide.

During his visit to the groundbreaking ceremony of Bulacan Medical Center on Thursday (August 16), Duque cited a report where more than 50 percent of patients across the country expressed dissatisfaction with the services they get from several hospital staff, particularly from nurses.

“Thirty percent (30%) nagsasabi they somehow felt respected, 18% nagsasabi na satisfied sila, and the rest  nagsasabi kulang sa respeto, kulang sa magandang pakikitungo,” the Secretary lamented.

Duque stressed that patients should be treated with utmost care and not with cruelty as it is expected that patients are persons in pain or in vulnerable conditions.

“Pinakikiusapan ko po kayo bilang mga lingkod bayan. Hindi lamang kayo naglilingkod lamang sa mga pribadong pagamutan kundi naglilingkod kayo sa pampublikong pagamutan. At bilang lingkod bayan, inaasahan ng ating mga kababayan  ang isang dekalidad na serbisyo. Kinakailangan dito ang pagiging maunawain, at mapagpasensya, sa kanilang nararanasang sakit, huwag nating suklian ng sungit, ng pagdarabog at kawalan ng pagalang,” Duque emphasized.

The Health Secretary warned of filing administrative charges or worst, order the dismissal of medical staff mistreating and disrespecting their patients.

“Puwede iyan kasuhan under Admin Code ng Civil Service Commision. Tumatanggap tayo ng reklamo sa hotline number 16565, at sa saka presidential hotline 8888,” he warned. – Nestor Torres / Marje Pelayo