Health workers told: Intensify monitoring, education drive

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Cebu City health workers were ordered to be proactive in monitoring diseases to prevent an outbreak similar to what happened in Tuburan town recently.

Barangay Health Workers (BHW) need to be always in the ground taking to the people about health issues and concerns, Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama said.

He said touching base with city residents would ensure immediate detection and prevention of the disease.

“I don’t want the health workers to stay in the health centers. They need to be in the communities so that they will know what’s going on in their areas of responsibility to prevent an outbreak in Cebu City,” he said.

As this developed, Rama said he also wanted City Health Officer Estella Ygonia to assess if there was a need for the city government to send a team of doctors to help care for the typhoid fever patients in Tuburan.

Busay barangay captain Eleodoro Sanchez said waterborne diseases cannot be avoided in many upland barangays who rely on open water sources.

Sanchez said he already spoke with Rama and requested that groundwater sources in his barangay to be covered with spring boxes to make sure that this is safe for consumption.

He said chlorination of groundwater should also be encouraged in upland communities.

“But some residents would get angry if chlorinators are installed in the springs because of folk beliefs that there are spirits living there,”  he said.

Cerila Alcantara, a women’s advocate, said some farmers also refuse to have their water sources added with chlorine because this would prevent their plants from bearing flowers.

Rama said he wanted to make sure that the city’s 381 BHWs do their jobs as the public health system’s first line of defense.

Ygonia said in an earlier interview that there is a plan to hire an additional 119 health workers to make sure that all of the city’s 80 barangays have at least one health worker assigned in their bigger or in clustered sitios.

Health workers receive a monthly honorarium of P4,000 from the city.

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