June 25, 2024

The Insider News

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Bong Go calls for heightened vigilance amid surging flu cases

SENATOR Christopher “Bong” Go, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, has strongly urged Filipinos to maintain heightened vigilance following a report by the Department of Health (DOH) on the over 190,000 documented influenza-like illness (ILI) cases in the country.

Go expressed his deep concern over the escalating public health concern especially amid the holiday season. “Each one of us needs to be more vigilant and responsible in our daily activities,” he said.

“Tandaan na mahalaga ang kalusugan at pagmamalasakit sa isa’t isa. Ito ang regalo na dapat nating pahalagahan ngayong Kapaskuhan. Ang katumbas ng kalusugan ay buhay ng bawat Pilipino,” he stressed.

The senator stressed the importance of collective effort in curbing the spread of such health threats including flu, influenza, COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses.

In a Senate hearing on December 18, on the reported rise of respiratory illnesses, Go, together with the DOH, appealed for the need for continued mask usage, despite its voluntary nature. He likewise emphasized the crucial lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and the necessity for bolstered preparedness in the Philippine healthcare system.

According to the latest Disease Surveillance Report from the DOH, there have been 193,148 cases of ILI from January 1 to November 25, a notable 50% increase from the 128,386 cases reported during the same period in the previous year.

The data from DOH shows that the regions most impacted by this increase are Davao with 27,411 cases; Northern Mindanao with 24,357 cases; and Central Visayas with 23,470 cases. Additionally, regions such as the Zamboanga Peninsula, National Capital Region, and Cordillera Administrative Region have experienced the most significant rise in cases compared to last year.

Despite the rise in cases, the DOH report reveals a silver lining with a decrease in ILI-related deaths, dropping to a 0.14 percent case fatality rate this year, compared to 0.38 percent in 2022.

Go commended the DOH for its enhanced disease surveillance and monitoring efforts. However, the senator cautioned against complacency. “While it’s heartening to see a decrease in fatalities, we cannot let our guard down. Every life matters, and we must continue our efforts to protect our fellow Filipinos,” Go emphasized.

Go also highlighted the need for proactive health measures. “Kailangan nating paigtingin ang ating mga kampanya sa pagbabakuna, lalo na sa high-risk areas. We should also raise awareness and education about the flu, its symptoms, and prevention should be a top priority,” he suggested.

The senator also called on local government units (LGUs) to play a more active role. “LGUs should closely monitor their respective areas and ensure that health protocols are properly implemented. We need a synchronized approach to effectively manage this health issue,” Go remarked.

Influenza-like illnesses, characterized by symptoms such as fever, cough, and body aches, pose a significant challenge, especially in densely populated areas. With the holiday season approaching, Go urged Filipinos to exercise caution.

“The holiday season is a time for joy and togetherness, but let’s not forget the invisible threat we are facing. I urge everyone to celebrate responsibly and adhere to health guidelines to keep our families and communities safe,” he added.

In closing, Go echoed the commitment of Health Secretary Herbosa in reassuring the public of the government’s commitment to addressing the situation.

“We should always be taking all necessary steps to address this health concern. Together, with cooperation and vigilance, we can overcome this challenge and protect the lives and well-being of fellow Filipinos,” he concluded.