RO9 Asthma WeekAsthma is a respiratory condition that impacts all people differently. This chronic lung disorder causes the airways to become inflamed and produce lots of thick mucus. A person with asthma experiences its symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, chest tightness and shortness of breath. Asthma is so common that everyone probably knows someone with this condition. For a child who suffers from asthma early in life tend to miss the chance to play a lot with their friends or participate in certain activities especially on sports. While growing up with this condition, some may even need to miss school or work since many asthmatics have only limited physical activities. In fact, the Philippines ranked 14th in the world in asthma mortality with 12, 479 or 2.05% total deaths based from the latest data of the World Health Organization (WHO) published in 2018. Thus, in order to create awareness and enhance the consciousness of the populace as well as help people cope with having asthma, yearly every 2nd week of August is celebrated as National Asthma Week by virtue of Proclamation No. 442 series of 1994.

RO9 Lung MonthEvery cell in the body needs oxygen in order to live. To supply the oxygen, the lungs take oxygen from the environment and transfer it to the bloodstream. From there, it circulates to the rest of the body. Lung diseases, especially pneumonia and tuberculosis continue to take the lives of many people. Thus, the public should be aware that lung diseases are actually preventable with proper knowledge and interventions. Hence, Former President Ferdinand E. Marcos declared the month of August as National Lung Month by virtue of Proclamation No. 1761, series of 1978 to increase public awareness of these diseases.

Lungs are a pair of roughly conical in shape organs that are located in the chest, behind the ribcage on either side of the heart. Lung disease is one of the most common medical condition worldwide. According to the latest World Health Organization (WHO) data published in 2018, lung disease deaths in Philippines reached 25,236 or 4.14% of total deaths. The age adjusted death rate is 45.61 per 100,000 of population ranks the Philippines number 16th in lung disease deaths in the world. These lung diseases that need to be avoided include, asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), lung cancer, infections like influenza, pneumonia and tuberculosis, and many other breathing problems. Some can even lead to respiratory failure that causes death.

RO9 PIAThe Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Western Mindanao held a virtual public briefing on 24 July 2020 via Facebook live and google meet. Hosted by Ms. Myra Espinosa of PIA Western Mindanao interviewed Dr. Dennis Dacayanan, Medical Officer of DOH Region 9, Nimfa D. Ekong, Regional Nutrition Program Coordinator of National Nutrition Council Region 9, and Maria Teresa Camba, Regional Director of the Department of Information and Communications Technology Mindanao Cluster 1.

Dr. Dacayanan gave the latest update of the COVID-19 status in region 9. He reminded the viewers to practice proper hygiene and expect a surge of COVID-19 cases. Although only the province of Zamboanga del Sur exceeded the 50% occupied bed capacity in their hospitals, Dr. Dacayanan said that let’s not wait for the hospitals to reach 80% occupied bed capacity instead encourage everyone to do their part and be responsible to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 in the community by following the minimum standard health protocols like washing of hands, maintaining social distancing and wearing face masks and shields.

Ro9 Breastfeeding weekWorld Breastfeeding Week (WBW) is a global campaign to raise awareness and initiate action on themes related to breastfeeding. For this year, the theme “Support breastfeeding for a healthier planet” focuses on the impact of infant feeding on the environment/climate change and the imperative to protect, promote and support breastfeeding for the health of the planet and its people.

In the joint message given by UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta H. Fore and WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, they are calling on governments to protect and promote women’s access to skilled breastfeeding counselling, which is a critical component of breastfeeding support. The agencies noted that skilled counselling services can ensure mothers and families receive this support, along with the information, advice, and reassurance they need to nourish their babies in the best way.

Breastfeeding provides health and nutritional benefits to both children and mothers. In fact, top officials of UNICEF and WHO emphasized that exclusive breastfeeding could save more lives and generate additional income. During this COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important to show encouragement and give support to the mothers. Counselling can empower women to overcome challenges and prevent feeding and care practices that may interfere with optimal breastfeeding.


RO9 Breastfeeding Awarness MonthBreastfeeding is the best way of providing ideal food for the healthy growth and development of babies. Importantly, it has many benefits for the infant and the mother such as it provides all the energy and essential nutrients from birth up to 6 months of life and it contains antibodies that protect babies against infectious and chronic diseases, such as diarrhea and pneumonia. Thus, the National Breastfeeding Awareness Month is observed every August by virtue of Republic Act No. 10028 signed in 2009 to raise public awareness of the importance of breastfeeding.

This year’s theme “Breastfeeding TSEk (Tama, Sapat at Ekslusibo): I-BIDA ang pagpapasuso tungo sa wais at malusog na pamayanan!” focuses on exclusive breastfeeding especially amidst this COVID-19 pandemic. According to World Health Organization, breastfed children perform better on intelligence tests, are less likely to be overweight or obese and less prone to diabetes later in life. However, concerns have been raised about whether mothers with COVID-19 can transmit the virus to their infant through breastfeeding. The WHO recommends that mothers with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 should be encouraged to initiate or continue to breastfeed. Mothers should be counselled that the benefits of breastfeeding substantially outweigh the potential risks for transmission.

RO9 Hospital weekHealth comes first. This is the slogan of every hospital and health workers since for them, the health and well-being of the patients and people in the community are the top priorities. Now more than ever, especially during this pandemic, hospitals serve as the primary care that play a significant role in the COVID-19 response. They are responsible in differentiating patients with respiratory symptoms from those with COVID-19, diagnosing and treating patients affected and even helping the vulnerable people cope with anxiety and stress about the virus. Thus, every 6-12 of August every year is observed as National Hospital Week by virtue of Proclamation No. 181 signed by former President Fidel V. Ramos to highlight the roles of hospitals in nation building and to focus on the ways they are supporting the needs of their community members during this pandemic.

Hospitals and health workers are considered to be the heroes even before the pandemic occurred. As primary health care, they are the important foundation during emergency situations such as Dengue, Polio, SARS, MERS-COV, other epidemics and now, the COVID-19 as well. Amongst their many responsibilities during this pandemic include diagnosing patients, providing safe emergency and comprehensive care, monitoring and following up on suspected and mild cases ensuring that they are fully healed before leaving the hospital premises.  But behind these responsibilities, hospital staffs and health workers are also facing many struggles during this COVID-19 battle. They need to endure being away from their family and loved ones, the long working hours, fatigue, physical and psychological violence and the stigma.