Duterte signs law on mandatory reporting of notifiable diseases, health issues
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has signed a law that requires the reporting of public health concerns such as infectious diseases and epidemics.
Duterte signed Republic Act 11332 or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act on April 26 but was released only to the media three months after it was signed.
Under the new law, “the Department of Health and its local counterparts are mandated to implement the mandatory reporting of notifiable diseases and health events of public health concern.”
“The DOH and its local counterparts shall establish and maintain functional disease surveillance and response systems,” it said.
“All public and private physicians, allied medical personnel, professional societies, hospitals, clinics, health facilities, laboratories, institutions, workplaces, schools, prisons, ports, airports, establishments, communities, other government agencies, and NGOs “are required to accurately and immediately report notifiable diseases and health events of public health concern as issued by the DOH,” it added.
The law allows the Health secretary to declare epidemics except when it threatens national security.
In such a case, the law states that the President shall be the one to declare a state of public health emergency and order certain government agencies to respond to such a threat.
Municipal, city, and provincial health offices are also allowed to declare a disease outbreak within their respective areas as long as the declaration is backed by scientific evidence.
The law, however, prohibits the “unauthorized disclosure of private and confidential information pertaining to a patient’s medical condition or treatment” as well as “tampering of records or intentionally providing misinformation.”
The law said “disclosure of confidential information will not be considered violation “if the disclosure was made to comply with a legal order issued by a court with competent jurisdiction.”
Other prohibited acts include non-operation of the disease surveillance and response systems, non-cooperation of persons and entities that should report and/or respond to notifiable diseases or health events of public concern, and non-cooperation of the person or entities identified as having the notifiable disease, or affected by the health event of public concern.
Any person or entities violating the said prohibited acts may face fines of not less than P20,000 but not higher than P50,000 and/or imprisonment of not less than a month but not more than six months. /muf
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