Philippines: DOH monitors health situation of IDPs, says Sec Duque

ICC General Santos City (22 November) -- Health Secretary Francisco Duque III assured that the health situation of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) in conflict areas is properly monitored and attended to.

This he clarified during a news conference Friday when asked on the health situation of the IDPs.

"I think the health situation is being monitored since day 1 the conflict broke out and in so far as the health issues are concerned our people continue to provide the basic health care services," he said.

Duque said the estimated 200,000 IDPs in Cotabato Province and Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) also included children who were mostly in school.

He said the DOH had a meeting on November 19 with its partners from DSWD, DepEd, PNP, DND, and DPWH "to assess the situation not only health but also looking rather if the students are continuing their schooling."

Aside from the health issues, Duque said "we continue to assess even the number of houses that had been gutted down by fire, and the reconstruction efforts being carried out according to schedules and timelines."

The government, he added has reconstructed school buildings "because we want to make sure that there is an immediate recovery and rehabilitation of our facilities."

The Secretary also assured that based on DOH monitoring there had been no reported outbreak so far.

He said DOH has been monitoring the condition of the IDPs by sending team of doctors and sanitation engineers in partnership with other concerned national line agencies.

"We can give you a list of the activities that have been undertaken by the different regions because there are many regions that are involved in making sure that the basic and fundamental needs and services of the IDPs are met," the Secretary told members of the press.

He emphasized that DOH has been continuously providing essential drugs and medicines, and also vaccines especially in ARMM, where there was outbreak of measles reported in the past months.

"We have pre-positioned the DOH personnel and our supplies to respond to all of these very important needs of the IDPs," Duque concluded.

Earlier the European Union (EU) has also pledged a multi-million humanitarian aid to ARMM officials for the thousands of villagers in the region displaced as a result of armed skirmishes between government forces and the lawless Moro Islamic Liberation Front group (LMG). (PIA SarGen)