MANILA, Philippines – Private hospitals urged the Department of Health (DOH) on Monday to declare a dengue epidemic amid a record-high number of cases across country this year.
The declaration will prompt the public to be more aware about the dangers posed by the disease, according to Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines (PHAP) President Rustico Jimenez.
He claimed that many Filipinos are still complacent about the illness.
“Sabihin na sa tao para mas mag-ingat… ang ugali kasi ng Pilipino, kapag di mo inalarma, di sila magdo-doble ingat," he said.
A total of 77,012 dengue cases, including 543 deaths, have been recorded from January 1 to September 4 this year.
The DOH, meanwhile, refused on Monday to declare either an epidemic or a state of calamity because some provinces have already seen a drop in the number of dengue cases, said Dr. Eric Tayag, director of the National Epidemiology Center.
He added that an epidemic can only be declared if the following conditions are met:
- People who have fallen ill from dengue can no longer be treated at home because of the virulent nature of the disease.
- A high number of deaths resulting from the disease.
- Hospitals can no longer accommodate patients seeking treatment.
- Dengue cases are widespread in all communities.
"Sa ngayon, naninindigan pa rin kami na wala pa tayo sa estado na magdeklara ng state of calamity,” Tayag said.
Jimenez criticized the DOH’s stand on the issue.
"Bahala sila! Kung ayaw nilang tanggapin na may epidemya basta kami nasabi na namin na tingin namin talagang maraming kaso ng dengue," he said.
The PHAP president plans to discuss the issue with DOH officials. – Sol Aragones, ABS-CBN News