Category Archives: Press Release

Be Responsible Pet Owners

In celebration of Rabies Awareness Month, the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Agriculture (DA), renew their commitment to end the rabies disease through a campaign to increase awareness about rabies prevention. The theme this year is “Makiisa sa barangayan kontra rabies, maging responsableng pet owner.”

Oreo's mummy

Rabies is a vaccine preventable viral disease, yet more than 59,000 people die from this disease annually. In the Philippines, it is considered a public health problem as it is one of the most acutely fatal infection, responsible for the deaths of at least 200 Filipinos each year. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 99% of all rabies transmissions are from dogs.

“Prevention is key in eliminating the Rabies disease. 99% of all rabies transmissions to humans are from dogs. Be a responsible pet owner and vaccinate your pets. This is the most cost-effective strategy to prevent rabies,” Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III stated.

The partnership with DA, Department of Interior Local Government (DILG), Local Government Units (LGUs) and the private sector, aims to strengthen the prevention campaign to avoid unnecessary deaths due to rabies. The campaign focuses on responsible pet ownership and vaccine availability at established Animal Bite Treatment Centers.

“We have made great strides in eliminating rabies particularly in the Visayas region where a number of provinces were declared rabies-free. Let us continue this positive trend and work together towards completely eradicating this deadly disease. It is my hope to declare Philippines a rabies-free country by 2030,” the health chief concluded.

Rabies is acquired from virus in saliva entering a bite wound caused by an infected animal, usually a rabid dog. The severity of the bite determines the risk of infection. The disease does not usually spread from man to man. (Source)

Press Release

STATEMENT ON THE SIGNING OF THE PHILIPPINE HIV/AIDS ACT

Secretary of Health Francisco T. Duque III released the following statement today (January 10, 2019) on the signing of the Philippine HIV and Aids Act by President Rodrigo Duterte:

Editorial Cartoon by NVTorrecampo

“The signing of the Philippine HIV and Aids Act is a huge step forward in responding to the growing HIV epidemic in the Philippines.

Ngayon ay mabibigyan na natin ng tamang suporta ang mga Pilipinong may HIV-AIDS. Kaya naman lubos ang aming pasasalamat kay Presidente Duterte sa pagbibigay niya ng prayoridad at aksyon laban sa HIV-AIDS.

The law provides:

  • Comprehensive education and prevention programs for PLHIV and their families.
  • It also enables minors 15 years of age to get tested for HIV.

While the new law has been enacted, our next step is to be able to properly execute the law by developing an Implementing Rules and Regulations to guide executive officials in implementing the law, as well as the public in how to comply with the law.

A stronger collaboration is key to attaining our vision of an HIV-free country. The road ahead will be long and our climb will be steep, but we will thrive and win against HIV and AIDS.”

Recent cases as of Nov. 2018

Press Release

Department of Health addresses more pressing concerns of children vaccinated with dengue vaccine

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III today emphasized that the Department of Health is focused on the more important concerns of parents, teachers and local government units emanating from the administration of the dengue vaccine to more than 830,000 children which began in April 2016.

“The DOH continues to refine our response and action plan in the Dengue Task Force to ensure the safety and best health outcomes for children who were vaccinated through heightened monitoring and surveillance, effective management of adverse events following immunization, activation of the dengue fast lanes in public hospitals and truthful and timely risk communication to the public,” Secretary Duque said.

The DOH is set to convene an independent dengue expert panel this week to review the latest evidence on Dengvaxia generated from the 5-year observation period in clinical trials as well as the data available to the DOH through the post-marketing surveillance of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the surveillance of adverse events following immunization (AEFI) at the DOH Epidemiology Bureau. DOH has also partnered with the Philippine General Hospital to conduct an independent review of medical charts of children who may have experienced serious adverse events or died following immunization to determine their probable cause or whether they are related to the vaccination.

“Based on the latest update from the WHO, the five-year follow up data provides evidence of reduced risk of severe dengue and hospitalization overall among vaccinated trial participants but also confirmed an earlier hypothesis that those vaccinated with no prior dengue infection could be at higher risk of more severe dengue and hospitalizations. This risk persisted about five years after the first dose,” explained Secretary Duque. The health chief also emphasized the commitment of the DOH to monitor the health of all the vaccinated children in the long run as well as take responsibility for medical care should there be an adverse event that could be related to the dengue vaccine. The DOH also supports the initiatives of the legislature in safeguarding the science-based decision-making and procurement process of the DOH especially for vital health programs such as the Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI).

With regard to the various ongoing investigations being conducted by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and both houses of Congress on the propriety of the dengue vaccine purchase, Secretary Duque called for all concerned sectors to allow the investigating bodies to do their jobs without being subject to censure, criticism, and accusations borne largely out of unfounded speculation and suspicion.

“We leave it to the appropriate courts to conduct their own independent investigation and to determine whether all the legal requirements were satisfactorily met in the purchase of the Dengvaxia vaccine. For now, the DOH is heavily immersed in efforts to attend to public concerns on the dengue vaccine and determine the proper course of action to take in managing the over-all situation. We shall also put in place the necessary measures to ensure the observance of proper procedures in the introduction of new vaccines into our public health programs,” said Secretary Duque.

From the moment concern was raised on Dengvaxia due to the public disclosure made by Sanofi on November 29, the Department of Health has been transparent to all sanctioned investigatory bodies who were given full access to pertinent data. Secretary Duque wishes that all agencies and individuals associated with these issues would extend the same cooperation.

The DOH is slated to submit all documents requested by the National Bureau ofInvestigation (NBI) when executive offices reopen on December 27.

The DOH Secretary stressed, however, that the most important matter to address at this time is ensuring the health and well-being of the children who received doses of Dengvaxia as part of the pilot effort.
Presently, all systems are in place at DOH healthcare facilities in the regions covered by the dengue vaccination to monitor report and manage any suspected adverse event. Risk communication initiatives have also kicked off in affected communities to inform parents and caregivers of vaccinated children on what signs and symptoms to look out for and where to seek consult. “I am absolutely certain that we can all appreciate a better outcome if we all agreed to move forward and cooperated with each other in the task of ensuring the health of the populace,” Secretary Duque added.

Press Release