Hontiveros: Health crisis looms if multiple health emergencies are unaddressed

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Photo Courtesy: Senator Risa Hontiveros Facebook Page
MANILA, Philippines — “The Philippines is facing multiple health emergencies. If left unaddressed and untreated, they could blow up into a full-blown public health crisis in the coming years.”

This is the warning raised on Monday by Senator Risa Hontiveros, who said that the country is looking at a ‘looming health crisis’ amid the outbreak of serious diseases and complications even as the government seeks to cut spending on health services and basic medicines remain costly.

“Epidemics left and right”

Citing data from the Department of Health (DOH), Hontiveros pointed out that the country is now suffering its worst dengue epidemic since 2012, with 271, 480 recorded cases from January to August 2019 alone.

The dengue outbreak has since killed 1,107 people – half of whom were children aged 5-9 years old. Likewise, Metro Manila and other regions in Visayas and Mindanao are experiencing a measles outbreak, with a 550 percent increase in the number of measles patients in NCR from January to February 2019 compared to last year.

Hontiveros also highlighted an increase in cases of diphtheria (167 cases in 2019) and the reemergence of polio after 19 years. She noted that children were affected the most by diphtheria, with the median age of diphtheria deaths pegged at 4 years old.

“Highest teenage pregnancy and HIV-AIDS rate”

Apart from serious diseases, Hontiveros said that the country has registered the highest teenage pregnancy rate in the Asia-Pacific region. In 2017 alone, 530 teenage girls as young as 10 years old gave birth every day. No less than Socio-Economic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia called the teenage pregnancy problem a “national social emergency.” (PRIB/IAMIGO/CNS)

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