DOH records 40 deaths among displaced Marawi residents » Manila Bulletin News

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By Argyll Cyrus Geducos

The Department of Health (DOH) said a total of 40 individuals displaced by the ongoing armed conflict in Marawi City have died due to different diseases as of Sunday evening.

Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial, during the Mindanao Hour press briefing Monday morning, said the cause of the deaths of the 40 individuals ranges from acute gastrointestinal infections to heart-related diseases.

A Long Wait – Evacuees from Marawi City wait for their food rations at a basketball court converted into a relief center in Balo-I, Lanao del Norte, Thursday. About 48,000 families are staying in evacuation centers, unsure of when they can return to the war-torn city. (Noel Celis/AFP | Manila Bulletin)

“Twenty percent are due to complications of acute gastroenteritis, 15 percent are due to pneumonia, and 12.5 percent due to sepsis,” she said.

According to Ubial, 16,411 patients were admitted or treated free of charge in health facilities, both government and private. Also 882 patients from evacuation centers were referred to the hospitals for treatment.

“When translated to number of individuals, the overall affected population is about 465,692 persons, close to half a million people,” Ubial said.

Government response

Ubial said temporary shelters were set up in 87 evacuation centers to accommodate 26,991 internally displaced persons (IDPs), while those living outside evacuation centers or home-based IDPs added up to 97,788 families or 438,701 individuals.

She also said the DOH is also addressing the mental health issues of the affected IDPs.

According to Ubial, services given to the internally displaced persons include psychological first aid, psychosocial processing, and coping with stress mechanisms.

Ubial said the DOH conducted on Wednesday children’s parties in several evacuation centers to enlighten and relieve the burden among the displaced children.

“We have likewise distributed LED TVs for education, health messages, as well as entertainment during the evenings. Special supplementary feeding for malnourished children and ‘An egg a day keeps the doctor away’ intervention for young children were likewise conducted,” she said.

Continuously being provided is a host of medical services, which include routine vaccinations for infants and children; treatment for tuberculosis, diabetes, and hypertensive patients; health care services for pregnant and lactating women; deworming and nutrition in emergencies such as Vitamin A and Zinc supplementation for under-5 and senior citizens.

Other services include the provision of wheelchairs to persons with disabilities (PWDs) and of course family planning, counseling, and commodities to women of reproductive age.

The DOH has also provided Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) services to address the consumption of safe and clean water in evacuation centers.

“It consists of regular conduct of water testing to ensure its safety prior to consumption, provision of potable water sources and techniques for household use,” Ubial said.

She also said the construction and installation of toilets, bathing, and washing facilities and provision of hygiene kits and water disinfectants are also essential part of the DOH’s intervention.

Logistics

In terms of logistics and funding, the DOH has allotted a total of P55.2-million cash assistance to both DOH and private hospitals and P30.4 million worth of logistics, totaling P85.6 million of assistance to responders for the Marawi incident.

The DOH is now also preparing a rehabilitation and reconstruction plan for Marawi City that will include one health center per barangay, one polyclinic for every 100,000 population, one lying-in facility for every 50,000 population, and one hospital bed for every 800 population.

The Amai Pakpak Medical Center (APMC), which was severely damaged during the war, is now back in full operation.

“Our 300-bed hospital in that city is fully operational. It has suffered minor physical damages and loss of logistics and equipment,” Ubial said.

The health secretary assured that the DOH is ready to replace the damaged equipment and loss of logistics to the APMC which amounted to P5,034,675.

“The DOH is really hopeful and at the same time incessantly praying for peace in Marawi City,” Ubial said.

 “Let us continue to hold on to our vision that one day peace will once again reign in the city, that Marawi will stand up and be resilient against all forces of evil brought about by this senseless terrorism,” she added.

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