Gov’t is prepared for monkeypox outbreak – DOH
MANILA, Philippines — The government is prepared to handle the monkeypox outbreak, the Department of Health said in a statement issued on Saturday, shortly after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the disease as a “public health emergency of international concern.”
According to the statement, the DOH and its partners “have been preparing for the monkeypox virus ever since an uptick in cases was reported in other countries.”
So far, the DOH has not confirmed any monkeypox cases here.
Following the announcement of WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus of the health emergency, the organization issued the following recommendations to guide the response against monkeypox, according to the DOH:
- Activate multi-sectoral coordination mechanisms for readiness and response, to stop human to human transmission.
- Avoid stigmatization and discrimination against any individual or population group that may be affected, to help prevent further undetected transmission.
- Intensify epidemiology and disease surveillance.
- Intensify detection capacity by raising awareness and training health workers.
- Raise awareness about virus transmission, related prevention and protective measures, and symptoms and signs among communities that are currently affected as well as among other population groups that may be at risk.
- Engage key community-based groups and civil society networks to increase the provision of reliable and factual information.
- Focus risk communication and community support efforts on settings and venues where close contact takes place;
Immediately report to WHO probable and confirmed cases of monkeypox.
- Implement all actions necessary to be ready to apply or continue applying further temporary recommendations for countries with detected cases, should there be a first-time detection of one or more suspected, probable, or confirmed cases of monkeypox.
The DOH said it would follow the WHO recommendations.
In line with this, the DOH said it drafted, approved, and circulated last May 24 technical guidelines for the implementation of monkeypox surveillance, screening, management, and infection control.
On May 27, the DOH also convened the Philippine Inter-agency Committee on Zoonosis — its members being the Department of Agriculture and Department of Environment and Natural Resources and their attached agencies.
On June 20, the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine optimized its Realtime PCR assay for detecting the monkeypox virus.
Meanwhile, the DOH has been working with local civil society organizations, community-based groups, social hygiene clinics, and advocates to properly communicate the risk of monkeypox.
So far, there have been more than 16,000 cases of monkeypox in more than 75 countries and five deaths in Africa.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.