Cholera is on the rise, DoH ramps up efforts
Public Health

Cholera is on the rise, DoH ramps up efforts

Dec 20, 2022, 6:59 AM
Dhana Garcia

Dhana Garcia


The Department of Health is stepping up its efforts to combat Cholera to keep the country safe from a possible outbreak.

With cholera cases now at 5,860 from January 1 to November 26 and 67 deaths, the Department of Health is ramping up efforts to contain the growing cases, which is caused by vibrio choerae bacteria coming from unsafe food and water.

Despite many reported cases, no local government units (LGUs) has yet declared an outbreak since cholera is believed to still be manageable given the coordination between hospitals and the DoH in monitoring and treating patients.

DoH OIC Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the agency has been working on reducing the impact of natural disasters on the country’s health system.

Natural and man-made disasters that cause overcrowding, a scarcity of safe drinking water, improper human waste disposal, and food contamination during or after preparation are risk factors for disease spread.

Because the Philippines is prone to storms, one of the issues that must be addressed to protect public health is to ensure that people are aware not to consume water and food that is not prepared/treated properly as the consequential diarrhea could lead to severe outcomes like death, if not treated immediately.

Cholera cases in 2022 were 282 percent higher compared to the cases last 2021. Most of the cholera cases came from Region 8 with 3,620, Region 11 with 810, and Region 4 with 336.

For October 30 to November 26, the DOH recorded 640 cholera cases, of which Region 8 had 472, Region 6 with 50, and Region 3 with 37.

DoH said it had been helping critical areas to ensure that the public has access to proper treatment and clean drinking water.

Because the illness is caused by the ingestion of contaminated food or water, DoH said that it is a whole-of-government, whole-of-society approach.

Cholera is endemic in the Philippines due to poor access to improved sanitation, especially regarding water sources. Despite the improved water sources, cholera can still be seen due to the breakdown and non-chlorination of water systems.

Cholera outbreaks can easily overwhelm the healthcare systems in areas with already limited health facilities, jeopardizing the provision of appropriate health care to patients with the disease.

Cholera can cause severe watery diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. Rapid fluid loss can cause dehydration, shock, and even death. Symptoms usually appear between a few hours and 5 days after ingesting cholera bacteria.

Because the illness is caused by the ingestion of contaminated food or water, DoH said that it is a whole-of-government, whole-of-society approach.

The whole-of-government approach entails public service agencies working together to achieve shared interdependent goals while the whole-of-society approach means that every individual, civil society, and company shape interactions in society and are responsible in promoting public integrity as well as setting the public agenda and influencing public decisions.

The DOH is in close coordination with concerned agencies through the Inter-Agency Committee on Environmental Health (IACEH).

There would also be improved strategies in implementing existing programs and activities regarding water and sanitation by coordinating and allocating resources of all IACEH member agencies to improve water, sanitation, and hygiene services.

To ensure the safety of drinking water, the Centers for Health Development and local government units are constantly implementing drinking water quality surveillance programs.

Tags: #Cholera, #DoH, #Sanitation, #Contamination

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