contact tracingThe United Nations General Assembly has proclaimed December 27 the "International Day of Epidemic Preparedness." A year into the global battle against the coronavirus, the international body hopes the designation will help strengthen global measures against and preparedness for future health crises. As exemplified by the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic major infectious diseases and epidemics have devastating impacts on human lives, wreaking havoc on long-term social and economic development. Global health crises threaten to overwhelm already overstretched health systems, disrupt global supply chains, and cause disproportionate devastation of the livelihoods of people, including women and children, and the economies of the poorest and most vulnerable countries.

Although the Philippines ranked well above the average score worldwide for many of the GHS Index indicators, one area the archipelago notably lacked was risk environment. Under this category, political and security risks notched a score of 39.3 out of a worldwide average of 60.4, while infrastructure adequacy was ranked 33.3 out of 49.0 and public health vulnerabilities scored 41.4 out of 46.9. The epidemiology workforce indicator of the detection and reporting category scored 25 out of 42.3. Alarmingly, the country scored 0 in linking public health and security authorities, communications with healthcare workers during a public health emergency, dual-use research and culture of responsible science, bioscience, and joint external evaluations and performance of veterinary services. We could see these weaknesses with the ongoing COVID-19. 

The Local Government Units (LGUs) have an indispensable role not only in combatting malnutrition in Eastern Visayas in this time of COVID-19 by enhancing its Local Nutrition Action Plans (LNAPs) but also in ensuring that their Rural Health Units (RHUs) and hospitals can conduct free Newborn Screening (NBS) procedures to all newborn babies since NBS is already included in the PhilHealth Newborn Care Package. NBS is a simple procedure to find out if your baby has a congenital metabolic disorder that may lead to mental retardation or even death if left untreated since most babies with metabolic disorders look “normal” at birth. The result of early detection may lead to early treatment to prevent the consequences of untreated conditions. Therefore, it is important that the special absorbent filter cards used in the screening are well-stocked and LGUs expand their NBS coverage.

PALO, LEYTE – Despite the threat brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, municipalities of Northern Samar and Eastern Samar did not dampen their spirit in completing the two-day Workshop on Integrating Nutrition Programs, Projects, and Activities in the 2021 Annual Investment Plan scheduled on December 14-17, 2020 via Google Meet.

volunteerInternational Volunteers Day (IVD) is an international observance that was mandated by the UN General Assembly in 1985. The Day is an opportunity for us all to promote volunteerism, encourage governments to support volunteer efforts, and recognize volunteer contributions to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at local, national, and international levels.

It is imprinted in all of us, as social beings, to connect with each other. While COVID-19 has self-isolated billions of people, it has prompted millions to volunteer in many innovative ways — from making face masks to helping elderly neighbors with shopping to virtual concerts and Zumba classes. Despite the COVID-19 Pandemic, volunteering for others has continued to thrive as people find new means of connecting and giving their time and skills because volunteering, by nature, is also uniquely flexible. People from all backgrounds and walks of life sign up to support a wide range of organizations across social, economic, and environmental development.

On 12 December 2012, the UN General Assembly (UNGA) endorsed a resolution urging countries to accelerate progress toward universal health coverage (UHC) – the idea that everyone, everywhere should have access to quality, affordable health care – as an essential priority for international development. On 12 December 2017, the United Nations proclaimed 12 December as International Universal Health Coverage Day (UHC Day) by resolution 72/138. International Universal Health Coverage Day aims to raise awareness of the need for strong and resilient health systems and universal health coverage with multi-stakeholder partners. 

healthy foodTACLOBAN CITY (Gerico Sabalza, PNA) – The Department of Health (DOH) has reiterated its call to the public against feasting on unhealthy food this holiday season.

Exuperia Sabalberino, DOH Eastern Visayas regional director, said just like any ordinary day, people should not forget about health and diet to avoid risk for a range of chronic illnesses including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and arthritis, among others.

"The types of food that we should avoid or consume in moderation are those with high sugar, salt, and fat. However, most conveniently forget about this especially this time of the year as people spend quality time with loved ones through sumptuous celebrations," she said in a virtual press conference on Wednesday.