‘Urgent justice’ may restore public trust to DOH programs—health advocate
The public’s trust on the vaccination program of the Department of Health (DOH) could only be regained if there would be “urgent justice” and “truth would be unveiled” concerning the Dengvaxia issue, a health reform advocate stressed on Tuesday.
During the Senate joint committee hearing into the Dengvaxia controversy, Senator JV Ejercito, chair of the health and demography panel, asked health experts on what the government could do to regain the trust of the public.
Ejercito’s question was raised after Health Secretary Francisco Duque III bared that the highly controversial anti-dengue immunization program has “tainted the reputation” of the other “innocent vaccines” of the DOH.
DOH’s nationwide vaccination coverage, he said, has “significantly decreased” from last year’s 87 percent to 57 percent.
Duque said the refusal of parents, mostly due to the Dengvaxia controversy, was “a cause for concern” from the Health department.
Dr. Anthony Leachon pointed out that the reason behind the public panic and hysteria was the lack of “urgent justice.”
“I think it’s a complex web of conflict of interest eh but the main issue why we are here is the safety of the kids, and the reason for panic and hysteria, wala kasing urgent justice eh (since there is no instant justice),” Leachon said.
“The trust in the vaccination program of the DOH can only be regained if there’s urgent justice, indemnification, and Sanofi can actually regain that by caring for Filipinos and by unveiling that truth if there’s accountability in the first place,” he added.
University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH) Director Dr. Gerardo Legaspi, meanwhile, stressed the importance not hearing unnecessary opinions on the issue so as not to worsen public hysteria.
“So I want to ask those in power, if we want to stop the hysteria, since you’re in power, tell everyone to stop talking, including us,” he said.
The Senate blue ribbon committee joint with health and finance panels are set to resume its inquiry into the P3-billion dengue immunization program on February 21, Senator Richard Gordon said. /jpv
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