Senator Christopher “Bong” Go has urged Filipinos to be more vigilant and prioritize their health by observing proper hygiene in the wake of an alarming increase in typhoid cases across the country. According to the Department of Health (DOH), at least 17,531 cases of typhoid have been recorded this year.
Go, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, expressed his concern for the growing number of typhoid cases and called upon the Filipino people to take immediate action to protect their health and that of their loved ones.
“Hinihikayat ko ang lahat na maging mapanuri sa ating kalusugan. Huwag tayong mag-atubiling magpatingin sa mga doktor kung may mga sintomas tulad ng lagnat o pagsusuka,” Go underscored.
“Mahalaga ring magtulungan tayo para maiwasan ang pagkalat ng mga sakit na ito. Huwag nating kalimutan ang tamang kalinisan at sanitation sa ating mga tahanan. Siguruhing laging malinis ang ating mga paligid at inumin ang ligtas na tubig,” he added.
Typhoid fever is a highly contagious bacterial infection that primarily spreads through contaminated food and water. Its symptoms, which include high fever, abdominal pain, and severe weakness, can be severe and even life-threatening if left untreated. Therefore, the recent increase in cases is a cause for significant concern, stressed Go.
According to the most recent disease surveillance report from DOH, there has been a 38% increase in reported cases of the disease from January 1 to September 30 compared to the same period last year, with 12,693 cases.
The Cordillera Administrative Region ( CAR) reported the highest number of cases at 2,861 followed by Northern Mindanao with 1,932 cases, and Mimaropa Region
(Mindoro Occidental, Mindoro Oriental, Marinduque, Romblon, and Palawan) with 1,413 cases. Cases in SOCCSKSARGEN (South Cotabato, Cotabato City, North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, and General Santos City) increased by 119% from 512 cases to 1,123.
Central Luzon saw the most significant increase in cases, with a 192% increase from 334 cases last year to 975 cases this year.
“Typhoid fever is a preventable disease, and it is disheartening to see the numbers continue to rise,” Go said, adding “We cannot afford to be complacent when it comes to our health. It is our responsibility to stay informed and practice proper hygiene to prevent the spread of this disease.”
Go also urged the government and health agencies to intensify their efforts in raising awareness about typhoid prevention, enhancing healthcare services, and implementing strict measures to ensure food and water safety.
Go then highlighted the importance of Malasakit Centers and Super Health Centers as crucial components of the country’s healthcare system, saying, “As the nation battles the increasing number of typhoid cases, it is essential for Filipinos to be aware of the facilities designed to provide quick and efficient medical services and assistance.”
The Malasakit Centers program, a brainchild of Go, serves as a one-stop shop for medical assistance programs. These centers bring together key government agencies to streamline the process of availing medical aid.
“Ang Malasakit Center po ay one-stop shop, nasa loob na ho ng hospital ‘yung apat na ahensya ng gobyerno – ‘yung DOH, DSWD, PhilHealth, at PCSO. Tutulungan po kayo sa inyong billing,” said Go.
The program was institutionalized through Republic Act No. 11463, which was principally sponsored and authored by Go. To date, there are 159 operational centers that have successfully helped more than seven million Filipinos nationwide.
“Sa ating pag-iikot sa buong bansa kapag naghahatid tayo ng serbisyo sa mga komunidad, lagi nating ipinapaalala sa ating mga kababayan—lalo na ang mga mahihirap—na unahin ang kanilang kalusugan. Huwag dapat silang matakot magpagamot dahil kung kailangan nila ng tulong pang-medikal ay nandiyan ang Malasakit Center sa kanilang lugar na handang tumulong sa kanila. Para sa taumbayan iyan. Kahit sino ay maaaring lumapit dito. Basta Pilipino ka, qualified ka sa Malasakit Center,” Go explained.
Moreover, the Super Health Centers offer a wide array of medical services, including consultations, and diagnostic tests, among others, ensuring that more Filipinos receive proper medical care close to their homes.
“Malaking tulong po ito na ma-decongest ‘yung mga hospitals. Makakatulong rin sa early disease detection para maagapan ang sakit. Pwede na sa Super Health Centers ang primary care at pagkonsulta sa doktor,” he added.
Super Health Centers offer database management, out-patient, birthing, isolation, diagnostic (laboratory: x-ray, ultrasound), pharmacy, and ambulatory surgical unit. Other available services are eye, ear, nose, and throat (EENT) service; oncology centers; physical therapy and rehabilitation centers; and telemedicine.
Through the collective efforts of fellow lawmakers and local government units, sufficient funds have been allocated under the DOH for 307 Super Health Centers in 2022 and 322 in 2023.
“In times like these, we must come together as a nation. Let us be vigilant, look out for one another, and ensure that proper hygiene practices are consistently followed. By working together, we can combat this outbreak and protect the health and well-being of our fellow Filipinos,“ stressed Go.
Image credits: Joseph Vidal/Senate PRIB