QC gov’t asks DOH, FDA to make clear stand on use, distribution of ivermectin

Robie de Guzman   •   April 30, 2021   •   403

MANILA, Philippines — The Quezon City government has called on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Department of Health (DOH) to issue a clear stand on the safety and general use of anti-parasitic drug ivermectin.

In a statement issued on Thursday, City Health officer-in-charge Dr. Esperanza Arias said a firm stand by the national regulatory agencies will “help set the record straight regarding the legality and efficacy of the drug, including its distribution to the general public.”

The city health office made the call following reports of the distribution of ivermectin to residents of Old Balara wherein each beneficiary supposedly received a minimum of three capsules or tablets.

“We were not given a go signal by the FDA to use ivermectin as a prophylaxis or cure against COVID-19 since it’s still pending further studies. Hence, we cannot use it nor endorse it,” Arias said.

“But on the other hand, we cannot also stop its distribution since use of it against COVID has not been declared illegal as well,” she added.

The city health office advised citizens to remain vigilant, as the drug has not yet been proven to be effective against the virus and allegedly causes side effects.

“The city government continues to stand by the science-backed recommendation that vaccination is still the safe and effective way of protecting people against COVID-19, together with the strict adherence to minimum health standards,” Arias said.

She also expressed hope that Anakalusugan Partylist Rep. Mike Defensor and House Deputy Speaker Rodante Marcoleta would accept accountability for any adverse effects their distribution activity may cause the general population in the future.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra earlier said that he has yet to determine whether the two exemptions cited by FDA Director General Eric Domingo have sound legal bases.

DOH to meet with Cebu execs on COVID-19 protocols for arriving overseas Filipinos

Robie de Guzman   •   June 18, 2021

 

MANILA, Philippines – Officials from the Department of Health (DOH) and the province of Cebu will hold a dialogue to resolve differing COVID-19 protocols for arriving passengers, a health official said Friday.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the meeting will be held after the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) stressed that its directives on the COVID-19 testing and quarantining of incoming passengers must be strictly implemented.

 “Ibig sabihin, kung ano man po yung protocols ng IATF, yun po ang ipatutupad natin sa lahat ng ating borders across the country, that is very clear,” Vergeire said in a press briefing.

“With regard to the meeting with Cebu officials, yes, we will be going there. Ito po naman ay isang bagay na gusto natin ding gawin para magkaroon na ng kalinawan sa discrepancy sa protocols,” she added.

Vergeire did not say who will be attending and when the meeting will be held.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier directed the provincial government of Cebu to adhere to the COVID-19 testing and quarantine protocols set by the national government for returning overseas Filipinos.

Cebu had been administering RT-PCR tests on returning nationals upon their arrival at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport.

This is contrary to the IATF protocols, which require arriving Filipinos to take an RT-PCR test on the seventh day of their arrival.

“Everything can be managed through this discussion,” Vergeire said. “We will be hearing them and they will be hearing us and hopefully, by the end of that day, resolved na po yung matter.”

The DOH earlier said that based on scientific evidence, the viral load in an individual infected with COVID-19 is still high on the seventh or eighth day, and that there is a high percentage that a person who might have the disease will turn positive during this period.

Publiko, pinag-iingat vs. dengue virus ngayong tag-ulan

Robie de Guzman   •   June 17, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Muling pina-alalahanan ng Department of Health (DOH) ang publiko na mag-ingat sa mga sakit na kalimitang nauuso tuwing tag-ulan, tulad na lamang ng dengue fever.

Ayon kay Dr. Eric Tayag, isang DOH Epidemiologist, higit na dapat maghanda at mag-ingat ang publiko sa dengue virus lalo’t nahaharap pa rin ang bansa sa coronavirus pandemic.

“Narito pa rin ang dengue at tayo ay dapat maghanda sapagka’t ang ayaw nating mangyari sa susunod na linggo ay may problema na tayo sa COVID tapos madadagdagan pa ng dengue,” ani Tayag.

Batay sa ulat ng DOH Disease Prevention and Control Bureau, bumaba ng 56% ang kaso ng dengue at 55% naman sa death cases mula Enero 1 hanggang Abril 17 ngayong taon kumpara sa kaparehas na panahon noong 2020.

Ayon kay Dr. Mary Ann Bunyi, pinuno ng Pediatric Infectious Disease Society of the Philippines (PIDSP), ang isa sa mga nakikitang dahilan ng pagbaba ng kaso ng dengue sa bansa ay ang limitadong paggalaw ng mga tao at takot ng ilan na magpakonsulta o pumunta sa ospital sa gitna ng pandemya.

“Isa doon pwedeng underreporting, kasi ang mga tao ngayon takot lumabas, takot silang pumunta sa ospital kasi ang pakiramdam nila baka mahawa sila sa COVID,” ani Bunyi.

“So sa halip punta sa healthcare facility, ‘di na sila pupunta. EIther kung may doktor sila tatawag na lang sila kung ano iyong mga mainam na paraan para magamot ang mga bata kasi kadalasan naman ang gamot lang naman diyan fluid therapy lalo na kung lagnat lang naman iyan at monitoring,” dagdag pa niya.

Ngunit babala ng mga eksperto, maaari pa itong lumobong muli sa gitna ng COVID-19 pandemic kasabay ng pagluluwag ng community quarantine sa ilang bahagi ng bansa.

“Tandaan niyo po na sa panahong ng tag-ulan maaaring tumaas ang kaso ng dengue lalo na kung iyong mga restrictions natin ay unti-unti pong matatanggal iyan. Magkakaroon po ng mobility at iyan po ang magiging dahilan kung bakit tataas ang kaso ng dengue. Kaya ngayon pa lamang po ay naghahanda na tayo,” ani Tayag.

Paalala rin ng DOH sa publiko na sundin ang 4 Strategy (4S) kontra dengue:

  • Search and destroy mosquito breeding sites
  • Self-protection
  • Seek early consultation
  • Support fogging or spraying only in hotspot areas

Ang dengue ay isang uri ng sakit na maaaring makuha mula sa kagat ng lamok na carrier ng dengue virus.

Ang mga sintomas nito ay kinabibilangan ng pananakit ng tiyan, lagnat, pagsusuka, pagdurugo ng ilong at gilagid, pananakit ng katawan, pagkahilo at pagkakaroon ng rashes o pantal sa katawan.

Bilang proteksyon sa dengue-carrying mosquitoes, payo ng mga eksperto ang pagsusuot ng mga damit na may mahabang manggas, pantalon o jogging pants, pagpapahid ng mosquito repellent o paglalagay ng anti-mosquito patch lalo na sa mga bata.

Paalala ng mga otoridad, maaaring humantong sa pagkasawi ang dengue fever kapag hindi agad nagamot ang isang indibidwal. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Aiko Miguel)

Quezon City opens nighttime COVID-19 vaccination for workers

Robie de Guzman   •   June 16, 2021

The Quezon City government on Wednesday announced it has launched a nighttime vaccination program, which will open at 6 p.m. or after working hours to accommodate employees who cannot take time off from work or visit a vaccination site during the day.

In a statement, Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte said the vaccination program, dubbed “QC Bakuna Nights,” aims to expand the reach of the city and immunize workers whose only free time is in the evening.

“Para ito sa mga manggagawa natin na hindi naman makaliban sa kanilang trabaho para makapagpabakuna sa karaniwang oras na 8am-5pm. Lalo na ‘yung mga arawan ang sahod,” Belmonte said.

“Ngayon, hindi na nila kailangang mamili kung arawang kita ba muna o bakuna. We will inoculate them at a time most convenient to them,” she added.

The city government also said on Wednesday that for the first time, around 2,000 pre-registered frontline personnel under the A4 category will be inoculated at the Quezon City Hall Grounds.

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