Philippines: DOH takes lead in providing MHPSS to disaster victims

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ICC Iligan City (21 October) -- The Department of Health (DOH) has been designated lead agency in providing mental health and psycho-social support (MHPSS) to victims of disasters and calamities.

This was announced by Regional Director Carmelito A. Lupo of the Office Civil Defense (OCD), region 10, during a media forum at the Information Command Center (ICC), Philippine Information Agency held in Tubod, Lanao del Norte (LDN).

Lupo said the instruction for DOH to take the lead in MHPSS concerns was given by Pres. Gloria Macapagal -Arroyo during a recent meeting on the sinking of MV Princess of the Stars.

Per Memorandum Order No. 15 dated Oct. 8, 2008 of the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC), the psycho-social intervention to internally displaced persons (IDP) in the affected areas of Mindanao due to complex emergency will be as follows:

DOH to conduct psycho-social intervention focusing on vulnerable group, members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), medical responders and local chief executives.

Dept. Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to provide psycho-social intervention to evacuees inside the evacuation centers.

Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) to concentrate on provisions of psycho-social services in the community.

Dept. of Education (DepEd) to concentrate on school children directly and whose classes were adversely affected due to the complex emergency situation.

Lupo said following the national guidelines on MHPSS in emergency settings, all concerned agencies will have to submit their reports on the subject to DOH through the Health Emergency Management Staff (HEMS) for consolidation. (RCA/PIA 10)