PH needs health literacy in fight vs infectious diseases, says doc


Posted at Oct 03 2019 11:35 AM | Updated as of Oct 03 2019 11:57 AM

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MANILA - A health literate public can do a lot to prevent the spread of infectious diseases, an official of the Philippine Medical Association (PMA) said on Thursday.

"Dapat holistic approach--vaccination is one part to address the spread of preventable infectious diseases," said PMA vice-president Dr. Benito Atienza.

On ANC's Headstart, Atienza said there are many factors that led to the decline in the immunization rate in the country, which became a factor in the resurgence or reemergence of vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles and polio.

Another factor is that parents now tend to be more busy and have less time to attend to their children's medical needs. Another could be attributed to the public's lack of understanding about basic health issues.

In addition, parents became more hesitant to have their children vaccinated after the controversy surrounding the dengue-vaccine, Dengvaxia.

"Because of the low immunization rate in the country the polio virus was given a chance to mutate and survive," he said on ANC's Headstart.

Hygiene, including proper handwashing, is likewise important in preventing the transmission of diseases like polio.

Last month, the health department announced that the country had its first cases of polio due to falling immunization coverage, after 19 years of being declared polio-free. A student in Manila also died of diphtheria, and the government earlier declared a national dengue epidemic and a measles outbreak.

"We have the vaccine, ayaw magpa-vaccine. Hindi na tayo natututo sa outbreak," he said.

He also stressed the need to further educate health workers, particularly on surveillance and reporting of cases especially in far-flung areas where there are no doctors.

"Surveillance is the most important thing especially now," he said.