DOH, DILG told to step up amid monkeypox threat


Posted at Aug 01 2022 05:29 PM

Senator Nancy Binay
Senator Nancy Binay attends a hearing at the Philippine Senate on February 11, 2020. Angie De Silva, ABS-CBN News

MANILA -- Sen. Nancy Binay on Monday urged the government to "beef up" its border control and contact tracing efforts amid the detection of the country's first case of monkeypox virus. 

Binay urged the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to reactivate emergency hotlines and revisit LGU coordination "to ensure that transmission of the virus can be immediately be contained."

"For the past years, we've seen the glaring gaps in our COVID pandemic response. This time, we hope the DOH and the DILG are better prepared to handle monkeypox for us to contain future outbreak possibilities."

The Philippines announced its first case of monkeypox on Friday, nearly a week after the World Health Organization declared the infectious disease a global health emergency.

The case was detected in a 31-year-old Filipino who arrived from abroad last July 19, according to Health Undersecretary Beverly Ho, who serves as the Department of Health's alternate spokesperson.

Binay said both the DOH and the DILG must embark on an educational campaign regarding the monkeypox virus.

"I just hope the DOH and DILG can kickstart or scale up contract tracing now that monkeypox and Covid are likely to put a strain on our already overstretched pandemic response program," she said. 

She added that health facilities must augment its manpower dedicated to monkeypox cases. 

"[Assign] more special units to handle monkeypox cases, and [strengthen] the clinical management, coordination, treatment, vaccination capacity at iba pang kailangan necessary to prevent the virus from spreading," Binay said. 

Last week, Binay's colleagues urged President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr. to appoint a permanent Health secretary amid the new virus' threat.