About 30 patients admitted at the Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital last week due to a food and water borne disease outbreak in Brgy. Handumanan, Bacolod City were discharged yesterday and more are being processed also for discharge, Councilor Em Ang said yesterday.
Ang said the Department of Health has advised that those who are not severely dehydrated can just be treated at home.
This will help decongest the CLMMRH, she said, adding that she had authored an approved resolution that will strengthen health centers and lying-in clinics in Bacolod City, in response to the appeal of hospital officials for the city and the province to do their share to help decongest the CLMMRH.
Dr. Julius Drilon, CLMMRH chief, said there are 11 district hospitals in the province and 29 health centers in the city that have to be strengthened since the city has no hospital of its own.
Dr. Marlon Tabligan, Chief of Medical Professional Staff, said CLMMRH has a 400-bed capacity. Their funds from Department of Health are enough only for 400 beds, staff, and infrastructure.
Today they have 700 patients, who include the influx of patients from Handumanan Saturday, so they have to make adjustments every day, he said.
As of Monday, there were still about 63 patients out of more than 136 admitted for acute gastroenteritis with moderate to severe dehydration who were being treated at the CLMMRH. Six of them tested positive for vibrio cholera infection.
Food and water samples taken from the Handumanan Elementary School 1, where the patients came from, will be sent by personnel of the DOH to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine for testing and verification.
Ang said the city has good lying-in clinics in Brgys. Felisa and Granada and that she has already filed a resolution for some equipment to be provided them.
The Felisa lying-in clinic can also serve Handumanan, Cabug, Mansilingan, Alijis and the surrounding barangays once it is provided the manpower to help operate it because it already has complete facilities provided by the Magdalo Partylist, she said.
Meanwhile, Ang said they will revisit the laws and DepEd memoranda that govern the operations of school canteens.
The biggest problem is how to regulate ambulant vendors selling or operating outside the school premises since most school children buy food from them especially after classes, she said.
They are now crafting some policies and regulations governing ambulant vendors. They will require all barangays to strictly monitor and keep a record of all ambulant vendors and require them to secure health cards, Ang said.
Aside from health cards, vendors should be required to secure barangay permits, which cannot be issued if they have no health cards, x-ray, deworming and other requirements, she said.
Ang said they will require ambulant vendors and school canteen operators to undergo food handling classes during the semestral break.
They have divided the schools in Bacolod into seven districts and each district will conduct food handling classes, she said.
What happened in Handumanan was a wake-up call for all government offices and officials to work on certain policies and procedures that will help address their concerns on public health, Ang said.
Ang said she is confident that the situation has been contained. In fact the DOH commended the swift action of Mayor Evelio Leonardia and the City Health officials in responding immediately and quickly to the situation because it could have been far worse if it was not controlled right away.
She said the DOH also provided medicines that were distributed by the CLMMRH to the patients.
On the other hand, a resolution also authored by Ang urging all barangay captains to require all ambulant vendors operating outside the school premises within their jurisdiction to submit to stool examination and deworming at the Bacolod City Health Office and, if necessary, to waive the stool examination fee and health permit fee, was approved by the Bacolod Sangguniang Panlungsod Friday.
The SP also approved another resolution urgently requesting the DepEd-Bacolod, the Bacolod City Health office and City Legal Office through the Office of the City Mayor, to monitor and ensure that all food sold to students are served by school-managed canteen with sanitation clearance and health permits and by accredited food handlers with health cards only, that was also authored by Ang, with Councilor Sonya Verdeflor.*CGS
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