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Sunday, May 19, 2024

Solon urges DOH to address sloppy anti-leptospirosis drug allocations

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Former Health Secretary now Iloilo Rep. Janette Garin has expressed grave concern over the shortage of anti-leptospirosis drugs in areas hit by the recent typhoons.

Garin urged the Department of Health (DOH) to make doxycycline, an anti-biotic prophylaxis that prevents infection, readily available for leptospirosis patients particularly those staying at evacuation centers in typhoon-hit localities.

Garin, a physician by profession, noted that local government units LGUs) in the municipalities gravely affected by tropical storm Paeng were having difficulty securing doxycycline because the medicines were stored in the regional offices.

“Leptospirosis is a preventable disease, pero ang nangyayari sa atin huli na yung prophylaxis na para sana sa prevention (…but what is happening, prophylaxis which is supposedly for prevention is coming late) Doxycycline should be initiated as soon as possible for it to be effective,” Garin said.

She said the drug should be given to barangays and schools as a preventive measure against leptospirosis, which usually occurs in dirty flood waters during calamities.

She said while the government has prepared a total of P31 million worth of medicines and other supplies, the drugs remained inaccessibly for the masses.

“When the typhoon hits, roads become impassable, bridges are damaged making it impossible for the LGUs to get the doxycycline supplies.

Kaya paano na ma-pickup yung gamot? So nawala na ang importansya nito para sana sa prevention (So how can they get the medicine? We lost the importance of this drug which is supposedly for prevention),” she lamented.

In her district alone, Garin said it took them six days to get doxycycline for individuals affected by Paeng.

Garin expressed hopes the DOH will review its policy on storing drugs like doxycycline which she said was extremely vital in preventing leptospirosis during calamities.

“We are proposing a more practical and responsive solution to prevent leptospirosis. We should target zero leptospirosis post-flooding.

We are after the protection because leptospirosis easily reaches an irreversible stage. Prevention is still the best,” she said.

The World Health Organization described leptospirosis as a bacterial disease that affects both humans and animals. It can occur worldwide but is most prevalent in tropical and subtropical regions.

Human infection happens through direct contact with the urine of infected animals, specifically rats.

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