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DOH ramps up fight against cholera as global cases rise

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The Department of Health (DOH) on Sunday said it is ramping up its anti-cholera efforts following reports of a global rise in cases.

Based on the data surveillance of the DOH Epidemiology Bureau (EB), there were 5,860 cholera cases reported from January 1 to November 26.

Despite this, the DOH said, no local government units (LGUs) have declared an outbreak as cases remained manageable, thanks to the close coordination of hospitals and the DOH in monitoring and treating patients.

“We have many teams on-ground addressing our current cholera cases, while we further strengthen our surveillance and response systems nationwide,” said DOH officer-in-charge Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.

She also said the DOH has been working to reduce the impact of natural disasters on the country’s health systems.

The DOH noted that cholera cases in 2022 were 282 percent higher compared to the reported cases during the same period in 2021.

Most of these cholera cases were in Region 8 (3,620 or 62 percent higher), Region 11 (810), and Region 4 (336).

The DOH recorded 640 cholera cases from October 30 to November 26. Regions recording the highest cases were Region 8 (472), Region 6 (50), and Region 3 (37).

A total of 67 people died due to cholera. The case fatality rate is 1.1 percent during the period, higher than last year’s 0.8 percent.

The DOH said it has been providing assistance to critical areas to ensure patients have access to proper treatment and clean drinking water.

As cholera is caused by the ingestion of contaminated food or water, the DOH said “a whole-of-government, whole-of-society approach is warranted.”

The DOH is in close coordination with concerned agencies through the Inter-Agency Committee on Environmental Health (IACEH).

The health department also said it is continuously improving its strategies in implementing existing programs and activities on water and sanitation by coordinating and allocating the resources of all IACEH member agencies in improving their water, sanitation and hygiene services.

In all settings, the DOH said the Centers for Health Developments and local government units are continuously implementing drinking water quality surveillance programs to ensure the safety of drinking water.

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