Eleazar pushes for creation of national health hazard map
MANILA, Philippines — Former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief and senatorial candidate Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar has vowed to craft legislation that will establish a national health hazard map for better response in cases of future health-related crisis.
A health hazard map is a tool used to map out safety and health risks so the best available solutions and options are identified. Eleazar believes it is high time for the government to establish this in the country especially amid the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Isa sa mga malaking alalahanin ng pamilyang Pilipino ngayon ay ang usaping pangkalusugan. Marami ang nag-aalala sa mga bagong variant ng coronavirus na bigla na lang sumusulpot o sumisibol kapagdaka nang walang anunsyo o pasubali,” Eleazar said.
Citing the COVID-19 pandemic as an example, Eleazar noted how the spread of false information about the coronavirus contributed to the panic and fear among the public in the early days of the global health crisis.
To address this, Eleazar thought that establishing a national health hazard map will help the national government and local government units to quickly identify the different risks in case a new public health crisis occurs in the future.
“Kailangan bigyan natin ng kapasidad ang mga LGUs na mag-ambag at makibahagi sa monitoring at data gathering sa mga nakakahawa at common na sakit sa pakikipagtulungan ng ilang ahensya ng gobyerno at pribadong sektor upang makabuo ng health hazard map,” he said.
Eleazar said that the health hazard map shall be created by the National Space Agency of the Department of Science and Technology which will be utilized by the Department of Health and the LGUs for a 24/7monitoring and visibility.
“Dito, makikita agad ang mga red flags na tinatawag sa alin mang sulok ng bansa na may isyu sa public health,” he explained.
“Makakatulong ito hindi lamang sa mga health workers kundi pati na rin sa mga pulis na dapat ay katuwang nila sa pagpapatupad ng mga alituntunin sa kalusugan. Isa na rito ang pagpapatupad ng quarantine o lockdown sa mga lugar na mababatid na may problema,” he added.
Eleazar thought of this strategy when he became the commander of the Task Force COVID Shield, a multi-agency task force created to ensure the implementation of safety protocols amid the COVID-19 problem.
There, Eleazar saw the problems on data gathering and hazard mapping of the government during the onset of the pandemic which, if conducted earlier, could have saved more lives and prevented thousands of deaths.
“Base sa aking karanasan bilang pinuno ng Task Force COVID Shield noong kasagsagan ng COVID noong 2020, alam kong ang tamang impormasyon at maayos na pagpapatupad ng mga guidelines upang makaiwas sa sakit ay napakahalaga,” he said.
“Kaya’t imumungkahi kong lalo pang pagtibayin ang ugnayan ng DOH, pulis, LGUs, at mga mamamayan patungkol sa usaping pangkalusugan,” he added.
The closest government program to this was the Project NOAH (Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards) of the DOST. It was implemented in 2012 as the country’s primary disaster risk reduction and management program but was defunded in 2017.
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