DOH : Only one watcher per patient in hospitals hit by water shortage
MANILA, Philippines — Patients confined in hospitals hit by the ongoing water shortage would only be allowed one visitor or watcher to minimize water use, the Department of Health (DOH) said on Thursday.
DOH Secretary Francisco Duque appealed to patients to bear with hospital management water use is being prioritized for critical care.
“Given the situation sana po maintindihan ng mga magulang na hindi po taghirap sa tubig ay amin pong papahintulutan ang mas marami sa isa, pero ngayon po mapipilitan po tayo na isa lang po talaga dapat,” Duque explained in a press briefing at the National Kidney Transplant Institute (NKTI).
“That’s to be strictly enforced. Hindi naman pwedeng hayaan natin, kasi kung hayaan natin na lahat tatlo, apat (ang bisita) eh mauubos ang tubig natin. Are we part of the solution or are we part of the problem?” he asked.
According to Duque, they have identified five hospitals being served by Manila Water that are affected by the water supply crisis. These are the NKTI, the Rizal Medical Center in Pasig, the National Center for Mental Health in Mandaluyong, the Philippine Children’s Medical Center and the Quirino Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City.
Representatives from the East Avenue Medical Center, Philippine Heart Center, and the Philippine Lung Center were also present at the press briefing to discuss their contingency measures.
Duque said hospitals can still function on just 50 percent of their daily consumption.
“We have come to an agreement that amid the water shortage that we are facing, 50 percent of their average daily requirement should be enough for them to sustain their current level of operations,” he said.
“Manila Water has been tasked to make sure this temporary solution be implemented in the soonest possible time, that means today, which means that via the tankering system, they’re going to provide the 50 percent water requirement of these five hospitals,” he added.
Water is important for hospitals such as the NKTI, which needs around 1,500 cubic meters of water daily for its hemodialysis units and hospital operations.
According to NKTI Executive Director Rosemarie Liquete, each hemodialysis unit needs 100 to 150 liters of clean water in a single dialysis cycle which lasts for four hours. Currently, there are 70 hemodialysis units operating in four shifts.
Earlier, the NKTI management said they have started shutting water supply to hospital rooms, to ensure that hemodialysis units will have water to use. However, should Manila Water fails to bring tankers to refill its cisterns, there will be no afternoon dialysis sessions, Manila Water said.
Liquete added that the NKTI is also shifting dialysis methods, from hemodialysis to peritoneal dialysis which needs just around six liters of water per session.
Manila Water said the water supply shortage can last until August, as the La Mesa Dam water level continues to drop. Earlier, La Mesa Dam breached the 68.74 meter mark, which is its lowest mark in 21 years. /muf
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