Beng spells out health issues from 2013 siege PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 18 June 2015 10:55

by VIC LARATO

Mayor Beng Climaco spelled out certain lessons, issues and concerns on health arising from the experiences and emergency situations the city government had gone through during and after the Zamboanga siege in September 2013.

Speaking at the Health Forum Monday afternoon, Mayor Climaco stressed that even before the siege, which struck barely two months after she assumed office, Security, Health and Education (SHE) have always been her administration’s priority thrusts.

“It is a gender-fair advocacy because if you remove the letter ‘S’ it becomes ‘HE’ but basically our objective is protection of the most vulnerable, the pregnant mothers and the children,” Climaco said.

She recalled that at the height of the siege her instruction to City Health Officer Rodelin Agbulos was to ensure the health of the evacuees and to make sure there was no cholera outbreak, a health problem that normally occurs during humanitarian crisis.

“Thank God. There was none. I’d like to thank Dr. Agbulos and his medical team together with our UN partners for the efforts, programs and activities rendered for the IDPs,” she said.

Climaco cited other concerns like the poor health-seeking behavior as a result of the siege, and above all the need to discipline the internally displaced persons on cleanliness and personal hygiene.

“Our observation from the start of the siege, most of the IDPs did not mind cleaning their area inside the evacuation centers at the grandstand, and they cared less or none at all about hygiene,” the mayor said, but she quickly added that after giving them a certain level of discipline “the situation inside the grandstand had gradually improved.”

Monday’s Health Forum at Garden Orchid Hotel was aimed to highlight recent developments and achievements of the health sector for recovery, identify remaining gaps and priorities in the health sector, and identify solutions and next steps for government and partners to address the gaps.

It was organized by the city government through the City Health Office, the Department of Health and the World Health Organization (WHO).— Vic Larato