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DOH: RP earns praise for early A(H1N1) response

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines has earned praise from members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) for its “early" response to the threat of the A(H1N1) virus. Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said Monday that the country’s efforts in putting of the dreaded virus was cited at the Asean summit on the A(H1N1) strain in Bangkok, which he chaired last week. “Nagkumparahan kami ng anong ginagawa. Tayo ang nauuna sa pag-activate ng preparedness plan. Natuwa sila dahil ang bilis nating kumilos, ang DOH and Bureau of Quarantine, ang National Disaster Coordination Council (NDCC). At siyempre yung bibigay diin ang effective communication sa public realm para maiwasan ang labis na pananakot, labis na takot, panic na nakakaapekto sa nagkaroon ng social and economic disruption," Duque said in an interview on dwIZ radio. [We compared notes during the summit. We were the first to activate a preparedness plan and our colleagues were glad because we acted swiftly. Our Health Department, Bureau of Quarantine and National Disaster Coordinating Council all staged an effective communication program to avoid panic and economic and social disruption.] Present at the Bangkok summit were representatives of Asean member nations and of the “Plus 3" partners China, Japan and South Korea. Duque said the participants agreed to implement enhanced disease surveillance and effective responses such as effective exit screening. He said, Asean member nations have agreed to screen for A(H1N1) virus not only incoming passengers crossing country borders but also outgoing ones. The Asean and the “Plus 3" partners also agreed on early case detection and management, he said. All participants at the summit also agreed to an “efficient sharing of supply" of medicines in case of an emergency, he said. Duque reiterated his appeal to arriving passengers to fill out the yellow form of the Bureau of Quarantine, so they can be diagnosed soonest if they notice symptoms of the A(H1N1) virus. Meanwhile, Duque said that as of Sunday, the DOH is monitoring 23 cases of possible A(H1N1) infection, but so far none have tested positive for the dreaded virus. He said that of the 23 cases, 15 tested negative while the results of the remaining eight were due Monday morning. - GMANews.TV
Tags: swineflu