‘Fortress vs dengue:’ Gordon wants PH research on mosquito-borne disease
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Richard Gordon believes the Philippines could become a “fortress against dengue” should extensive research on the mosquito-borne disease be conducted in the country.
“Why can’t this small country with so many doctors…why can we not use our doctors to examine kung ano ang impact nito at para magkaroon tayo ng panlaban sa dengue. We should be the dengue research capital of the world,” Gordon said when he delivered his privilege speech at the Senate session on Tuesday.
“We’re facing a crisis, but I believe we have an opportunity before us to become a fortress against dengue,” he further said.
Earlier this month, the Department of Health declared a national dengue epidemic that has so far claimed the lives of at least 622 people since January.
Dengue, which is caused by a virus carried by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, has four strains and can be fatal.
There is no known cure.
“Who knows baka may isang Pilipino na makadiskubre talaga ng tunay na rason kung bakit nagkakaroon ng ganyang mga sakit…that is not farfetched. And I am not ruling that out,” Gordon went on.
The DOH stopped its massive dengue immunization program using Dengvaxia in late 2017 after its manufacturer, the French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi Pasteur, said patients who had no prior exposure to the dengue virus could suffer severe symptoms.
By the time the P3.5-billion immunization program was halted, more than 800,000 public school children had already been inoculated
The program began under the Aquino administration.
Sanofi later reimbursed P1.16 billion to the government for the unused vaccines.
“Importante na alisto tayo. We now say that there is now an opportunity for us to examine…ahat no’ng mga nagkaroon ng dengue ngayon at alamin natin kung sila ay naturukan no’ng wala pa silang dengue, kung wala, it presents a very great opportunity for us that, for the first time, meron tayong ebidensya na malinaw na pwedeng managot ang Sanofi sa Pilipinas, sa mga taong naturukan at dapat magbayad sila sa perwisyo sa mga namatay at mga nasakatan,” Gordon further said.
The senator, who is also the chairman of the Philippine Red Cross, stressed that it is the duty of the government to promote the right of the people towards health consciousness.
“It is the duty of the government to protect its citizens, especially kung sila ang may gawa ng pagtulak nitong dengue vaccine na ito,” Gordon said.
“We took an oath, this is a golden opportunity upon which we can help these parents na matulungan sila kung nagkakasakit ang kanilang mga anak. We wanna be able to learn from these research,” he added.
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