The Private Hospitals Associations of the Philippines Inc. (PHAPI) on Sunday allayed concerns about the reported rise in dengue and COVID-19 infections in the country, saying that they are still manageable for now.
In a Super Radyo dzBB interview, PHAPI president Dr. Rene Jose de Grano explained that the rainy season has caused the increase in dengue cases, particularly in Visayas and Mindanao regions, in the past two weeks.
“Actually, siguro more than two weeks na tayong nagkakaron ng mga kaso ng dengue. Dahil nga sa mga pag-ulan ay nagkakaroon tayo minsan ng pagkaiwan ng tubig na hindi naman naaalis. ‘Yan ang ginagawang breeding place na ng mga lamok na nagdudulot ng dengue," de Grano said.
(Actually, it's been probably more than two weeks that we have had dengue cases. Due to the rains, sometimes stagnant water get collected. These become the breeding places of mosquitoes carrying the dengue virus.)
“Halos komplikasyon na lang po ‘yung mga nadirinig namin na namamatay sa dengue. Karamihan naman ‘yan diyan nate-treat naman, asymptomatic lang. Halos wala naman, so far, na namamatay dahil sa dengue,” he said.
(Some of the people dying from dengue are due to complications. Most of them are just asymptomatic and could be treated. Almost no one, so far, has died of dengue.)
Reports, however, showed that 19 people have already died due to dengue in Zamboanga City alone which has already declared a dengue outbreak. The cases in the city reached over 2,000 from January to May 14, 2022.
Meanwhile, 11 have died in Cebu City also due to dengue, with more than 700 dengue cases recorded from January up to May 7 this year. The figure is the highest in Central Visayas, according to the Department of Health (DOH) in Central Visayas.
Despite this, Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje also assured the public on Friday that the dengue cases in the country remain manageable, but said they have already advised health facilities to prepare for an increase in admissions, especially for children.
Cabotaje noted that the 22,277 dengue cases recorded from January to April this year was 15% lower compared to the cases recorded during the same period last year.
On the other hand, de Grano underscored the importance of COVID-19 vaccination amid the slight increase in infections, albeit manageable.
“Medyo tumaas ng kaunti siguro for the past week, tumaas nang bahagya, pero sinasabi nga natin, still manageable kasi karamihan ng sintomas ay mild to moderate [the cases have slightly increased in the past week but they are still manageable because most of the symptoms are mild to moderate],” he said.
The Philippines on Saturday logged 199 new COVID-19 infections, which brought the country's active case count to 2,434, a slight increase from the 2,422 recorded on Friday.
Possible PhilHealth contribution hike
Furthermore, de Grano echoed the sentiments of the working public in regard to the increase in monthly premium contribution to be imposed by the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) in June.
PhilHealth earlier said the contribution rate will be hiked to 4% for members earning P10,000 to P80,000 per month, which will allow the agency to collect P205 billion in 2022.
“Medyo ang sinasabi ng ating mga kababayan na parang nagulat sila na biglang may .5% increase every year. Akala nila na-freeze sa 3% nu'ng may pandemic,” he said. “‘Yun ang pinag-iisipan ng ating mga kababayan. Mataas daw.”
(The public was shocked that there was a sudden .5% increase every year. They thought it froze to 3% due to the pandemic. They said this is too high.)
The 4% premium rate means that those earning P10,000 and below would have to pay P400.00 monthly contribution to PhilHealth.
Those earning over P10,000 but lower than P80,000 need to pay a higher monthly premium ranging between P400 and P3,200 while those earning over P80,000 would have to pay a flat rate of P3,200.
The state health insurer meanwhile assured its members that their contributions would be used to help Filipinos ease the burden of hospitalization and expand other benefits amid the impending increase in the monthly premium rate next month and its retroactive effect from the start of the year.
De Grano earlier called for an orderly structure within the PhilHealth and an easeful transaction of claims within the insurance provider, under the incoming Marcos administration for an effective implementation of the Universal Health Care law. —KG, GMA News