Category Archives: Press Release

No more milk tea for now

For fear of poisoning (story here), my daughter who loves milk tea will refrain from drinking one for now. Cases of food and beverage poisoning caused by bacterial contamination is particularly high during the summer months. We can avoid getting sick if we are wary of the food and water we take. We may also check on the sanitation of the stores we get our favorite snacks from. Don’t get me wrong, maraming simpleng stores (‘yung tipong suki na natin) pero malinis naman ang pagkagawa ng paninda nila. Alarming lang talaga nangyari sa milk tea poisoning.

Meanwhile, the government has issued an update regarding the alleged milk tea poisoning:

The Department of Health (DOH), in coordination with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and toxicologists from the UP-Philippine General Hospital (PGH), obtained and studied the footage from the food establishment to aid in assessing the clinical manifestations and course of illness of the victims. Samples of the milk tea ingested were also submitted for examination. Preliminary results were negative for suspected toxic substances. However, we have expanded the tests to include biological samples such as blood, tissues, and gastric contents from the victims as collected during the autopsy.

The situation appears to be an isolated event, pointing to a possible case of poisoning. Let me emphasize that this is isolated. In fact, this is the third time the couple bought milk tea in the same food establishment. No untoward incident happened during the previous intake. We appeal to the public not to generalize the situation as many small and medium scale enterprises are dependent on the sale of milk tea and similar beverages.

A joint DOH-DENR Advisory concerning cyanide-containing substances has been issued in 2010. Taking into consideration the serious health impact of cyanide-containing silver jewelry cleaning solutions, the DOH calls for the immediate passage of a law making the sale and dispensing of these substances a criminal act. Meanwhile, we urge the local government units to pass ordinances banning these substances in their respective jurisdictions.

We call on the public to be aware of the initial signs and symptoms of poisoning, such as vomiting, diarrhea, muscle weakness, and impaired or loss of consciousness. Whether mild or severe, the patient should be immediately brought to the nearest hospital. Poisoning is deadly and immediate medical attention is warranted.For inquiries, the National Poison Center-PGH, which is open 24 hours and seven days a week,may be reached at the following numbers: (02) 554-8400 local 2311, (02) 524-1078, or 0922-8961541.

Let’s have an enjoyable healthy summer – DOH

The Department of Health (DOH) today advised the public to be mindful of their health during the summer season’s flurry of activities, starting with the Holy Week observance, followed by outings, fiestas, and the like.

“This year, the Holy Week signals the start of summer vacation activities, thus, we are urging the public to keep themselves healthy and fit in the midst of their busyness,” Health Secretary Janette Loreto-Garin said.

Garin revealed that there are six common summer diseases or conditions (6S) that can adversely affect one’s health. These are Sore eyes, Sunburn, Sipon at ubo, Suka at tae, Sakitsabalat and Sakmal ng aso.

Sore eyes or conjunctivitis, when mistreated, can lead to blindness. More than just eye irritation, it can easily be due to harmful bacteria or viruses that easily spread to other people. Hand washing can limit its spread. Health experts advise not to use eye drops without consulting a doctor.

Sunburn can be prevented if you hold your outdoor activities in the early morning or late afternoon. Avoid direct exposure to sun between 10am-2pm. Hide in the shade or seek cool places to prevent the ill-effects of too much sun exposure. Use sunscreen appropriately, like choosing a product that retards against both UVA and UVB rays, with at least an SPF30, applying it 30 minutes before actual sun exposure. Re-apply if exposure will be extended and do not forget the ears, nape areas and feet.

Heat stroke is a more serious consequence of too much exposure to sun. This can be avoided by drinking 8-12 glasses of water a day. Holy Week penitents can also benefit from these tips.

Sipon at ubo easily spreads even during the summer months, as erratic weather bring sudden downpours from time to time. Senior citizens are advised to get vaccinated against influenza before the flu season begins in June.

Suka at tae follows the consumption of contaminated food or drinks. Be cautious of street foods and also those prepared for out-of-town trips. Remember that food spoils easily during the hot summer months. Always have oral rehydration salt solution ready in case one suffers diarrhea. Seek early consultation to prevent severe dehydration.

Sakit sabalat is another common summer disease in areas where water becomes scarce and that daily bathing is compromised. Usually, inmates in crowded prisons suffer boils due to heat and congestion.

Also, skin diseases abound when one swims in dirty water or unmaintained public swimming pools. Remember to take a bath before and after plunging into the pool and please do not urinate in the pool. However, the real danger in swimming is drowning. Children should not be left alone in the pool or beach.

Sakmal ng aso can lead to rabies if wounds are not washed and cared for properly. Make sure dogs are vaccinated against rabies. If you sustain dog bites, visit the animal bite center to get rabies vaccination immediately.

Summer is also a time for vacation and travel. The health chief also reminded the public to follow simple road safety tips like do not call or text while driving, do not drink alcoholic beverages if you will drive, do not drive if you are sleepy, always wear seatbelt, and always follow traffic rules especially speed limits. For those riding motorcycles or bicycles, always wear your helmet.

“Remember to keep yourself healthy and safe. Let us all have an enjoyable, disease-free, and injury-free summer. May papel tayong pangalagaan ang ating kalusugan” Garin concluded.


Poor kidney and liver patients to receive financial assistance

Patients who need to undergo organ transplant will soon receive financial assistance from the Department of Health through one of its specialty hospital, the National Kidney and Transplant Institute, and the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.

Under the Memorandum of Agreement recently signed by the NKTI and PCSO, patients who will qualify as beneficiaries can avail of the life-saving procedure with the assistance of PCSO through their individual Medical Assistance Program. The PCSO pays for the patient’s hospitalization cost, including medicines, medical, surgical, or blood supplies and diagnostic procedures.

“This endeavor would greatly lessen the burden of cost to the patients through an outsourced funding,” said NKTI Executive Director Dr. Jose Dante Dator.

The DOH said another successful simultaneous liver and kidney transplant was recently performed at NKTI.

The latest patient was a 54 year old, male, married and unemployed patient from Pateros, Metro Manila. He used to be a taxi driver but stopped upon onset of illness in July 2013. His wife is the family’s sole breadwinner. She works as an Auditor in one of the leading banking firms in the country.

The patient has been suffering from psoriasis for ten years and was maintained on Methotrexate which resulted to impairment of his liver and kidney functions. In November 2013, he was diagnosed with liver cirrhosis and chronic kidney disease secondary to hypertensive nephrosclerosis.

Evaluation for the patient’s combined liver/kidney transplantation was started on December 10, 2013. He was approved for listing by the NKTI Liver Team and was put on the deceased donor waiting list by the PHILNOS on December 18, 2013.

A liver and kidney transplant became more imminent when he developed refractory ascites and increasing serum creatinine levels and worsening of his glomerular filtration rate. Refractory ascites is ascites that cannot be mobilized or the early recurrence of which (i.e. after repeated therapeutic paracenteses) cannot be successfully prevented by medical therapy.

A potential deceased donor came on July 6, 2014, which was case of a fall injury involving a 16 year old female patient, through the Human Organ Preservation Effort (HOPE).

On July 7, 2014, the NKTI transplant team did the simultaneous liver and kidney transplantation on this patient. NKTI has done about eight multiple organ transplants since 1988.

Press Release