Philippine health authorities are implementing new measures to ensure the country remains Ebola-free as travel-related cases – though isolated – of Ebola virus infection surface in countries outside Africa.
Health authorities will now require travellers to fill up a form to show whether they have symptoms of fever, diarrhoea and whether they have been exposed to possible ebola stations or facilities, according to Department of Health secretary Dr. Enrique Ona.
The health secretary outlined the Philippines’ preparation against the spread of Ebola Virus at the recent Biosecurity national summit held in Quezon City.
Thousands of Filipino workers are spread out in regions of Africa including the west of the continent where the cases continue to spread. As of Monday, over 4,000 people have been reported to have died from the virus.
“The national government has the resources to deal with this public health threat,” Dr. Ona said.
“I believe that the best remedy against panic and hysteria is to ensure that the public is well informed not only of the disease, its prevention and supportive treatment, but also of the actions of the government to ensure that the Philippines remains Ebola-free.”
The DOH has prescribed guidelines to its bureaus, Centers for Health Development (CHDs), hospitals, and attached agencies, all services, units and teams to unify efforts in the prevention and control of EVD.
Surveillance at points of entry is imposed as travellers entering the Philippines coming from affected countries shall undergo screening by Bureau of Quarantine. The Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, Lung Center of the Philippines and the San Lazaro Hospital are prepared to receive and treat symptomatic cases. Contact tracing for possible exposed individuals will be implemented.
Philippine government representatives led by Department of Health officials were supported and joined in the summit by reps from the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) and United Nations Mission for Emergency Ebola Response (UNMEER) in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Six months since the first case of Ebola in West Africa, the UN General Assembly and Security Council approved resolutions creating UNMEER.
The body has a single strategic objective and purpose aimed to stop the spread of the disease aiming to ‘Stop the Outbreak’, treat the infected, ensure essential services, preserve stability and prevent outbreaks in other countries, according to Dr. Julie Hall, WHO representative at the summit.
The Philippine government has deployed direct manpower support in the person of Ms. Joy Rivoca Caminade, Risk Communications and Social Mobilisation in the Republic of Sierra Leone in West Africa. She just returned recently and reported about her mission. She is again preparing to be redeployed to the same post very soon.