Press Release
September 6, 2016

Hontiveros calls for intensified drive vs Zika virus

Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros today called for an intensified government prevention and detection drive against the Zika virus after a sixth case was confirmed by the Department of Health (DOH) yesterday.

Hontiveros, Chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, said the DOH should equip the barangay health centers, as they are the frontline service providers that can aid the government in the monitoring and providing of immediate care to those infected with Zika virus especially the pregnant women.

"I support the on-going preparations and ground work of the Department of Health to strengthen its information, detection and monitoring drive to prevent the further spread of the disease, and to provide immediate care to those infected with the virus. Kailangan nating suportahan ang ginagawang hakbang ng ating DOH at mga lokal na pamahalaan upang mapanatiling ligtas ang ating pamayanan mula sa komplikasyon na dulot ng Zika virus," Hontiveros said.

"Anti-Zika Virus packets"

Hontiveros urged the DOH to provide anti-Zika virus packets to barangay health units to protect their constituencies from the virus. The packets should contain mosquito nets, mosquito repellents, condoms and reading materials on the virus. She said the Zika virus is spread by mosquito bites during the day and night, and through unprotected sex from a person who has Zika.

2017 budget

The Senator said that she will also consult with the DOH to ensure that funding for these kind of health-related issues are included in the proposed 2017 health budget in order for the government to immediately and properly respond to the needs of the public," she added.

Meanwhile, Hontiveros lauded the DOH action in including Zika virus in its Philippine Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response System, which reports within 24 hours all suspected cases of Zika virus to the Epidemiology Bureau of the health department.

Hontiveros also advised overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to immediately contact the Philippine embassy or consulates once the epidemic of Zika spreads in their country of work of if they showed symptoms of the virus. She said that Filipinos should seek medical intervention once they experience fever equal to or higher than 38 degrees centigrade for more than two days, conjunctivitis, skin rash, headache, muscle pain, joint pain, body weakness and pain behind the eyes.

The Senator said that per DOH advisory, patients who experienced those symptoms within two weeks after traveling from countries with confirmed reported cases of Zika virus and patients who have a history of Guillain-Barre syndrome should seek immediate medical intervention.

She, however, said that Filipinos should get accurate information from the DOH and other reputed medical institutions regarding Zika virus and refrain from sharing information from unauthorized sources.

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