Wednesday, March 21, 2018
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Hospitals to set up priority lane for sick Dengvaxia recipients

PERSONAL CHECKUP Health Secretary Francisco Duque III makes the rounds at San Lazaro Hospital on Friday to check on the hospital care being extended to children who had received the Dengvaxia vaccine and became ill with dengue. —MARIANNE BERMUDEZ

Soon, dengue patients who had received the Dengvaxia vaccine would be assured of priority and quality healthcare in hospitals and of being relieved of hospitalization expenses, thanks to a memorandum of agreement between the Department of Health (DOH) and public and private hospitals.

The memorandum would create a one-stop shop or express lane for Dengvaxia recipients who fell ill with dengue, and beef up the health-care system’s response to these cases, said Health Secretary Francisco Duque III who visited several government hospitals on Friday.

“We have to ensure that the network of public and private hospitals is very much in place for cases of Dengvaxia vaccinees who were hospitalized,” Duque said of the memorandum of agreement (MOA) that he would be signing with the Philippine Medical Association, the Philippine Hospital Association, the Private Hospital Association of the Philippines and the Association of Hospital Administrators.


In a press briefing at San Lazaro Hospital, Duque said the one-stop shop triage or express lane was aimed at prioritizing Dengvaxia recipients who had contracted dengue, depending on their symptoms or complaints.

The MOA would also ensure the implementation of a “no-balance billing” policy, ensuring that Dengvaxia recipients would not shoulder any hospitalization charge should they be admitted for dengue.

Under the policy, the DOH medical assistance program would pay for the remaining balance in excess of that covered by PhilHealth.

Interim guidelines

Duque, who visited young dengue patients at San Lazaro Hospital and Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center, said the policies were part of the DOH’s interim guidelines in response to the Dengvaxia crisis, particularly surveillance, patient care and referral, and risk communication.

“Please continue trusting our vaccines. We do not like what happened with Dengvaxia, but please be assured that our vaccines—like those for measles—are safe and effective,” the DOH official told parents of dengue patients as he made the rounds of the two hospitals.

The DOH, he added, was continuously revising its interim guidelines according to the changing situation.

One of the children, an 11-year-old girl from Valenzuela City, said she received the first dose of the Dengvaxia vaccine on Sept. 21, 2017.


The girl has been confined at San Lazaro Hospital since Monday after complaining of fever, vomiting and bleeding of the gum and nose.

Duque said there was a need to integrate the health services at the local level with that of DOH hospitals to standardize the health-care response to Dengvaxia cases.

He believes that Filipinos still trust the government’s health-care system, although the trust was eroded by the Dengvaxia controversy, Duque said.

“(It’s) very sad and very unfortunate, but we have to deal with it. That’s what life is all about. We have to move on but must learn from the painful lessons of our experiences,” he added.

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TAGS: dengue, Dengvaxia, DoH, medical
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