Well-being of IDPs a primordial concern — CHO PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 14 November 2013 14:28

As the city continues its efforts to rise back on its feet, the health and wellbeing of those displaced during the 23-day long Zamboanga Crisis remain a primordial concern for the city government.

This was revealed Tuesday afternoon during a press conference called by Mayor Beng Climaco to update residents of ongoing efforts by the local government in partnership with various entities to rebuild the city.

City Health Officer Dr. Rodelin Agbulos apprised members of the local media on the various activities being conducted by his office to ensure the health of evacuees, particularly the elderly, the pregnant and the lactating.

“We have identified 847 pregnant women and 565 lactating women, all of whom are now being attended by the Reproductive Health Services,” Agbulos shared.

The office has also conducted twelve (12) Buntis Congress and Lactation Assembly in evacuation centers, he added.

Moreover, several dignity kits have also been distributed to assure pregnant mothers are taking ample vitamins and minerals during their pregnancy.

Three tents have been established outside the Don Joaquin Enriquez Memorial Sports Complex to serve as transitional health kiosk to provide health care services to all evacuees, including the Badjaos and those housed at the Zamboanga City High School-West.

The Red Cross also operate an emergency tent or mini-hospital inside the evacuation center where doctors from the City Health Office and the Red Cross attend to medical cases in rotation.

Ambulances from both agencies are also on standby, ready to be deployed when needed, he said.

Agbulos identified acute respiratory diseases, acute watery diarrhea, skin diseases, open wounds and bruises, and hypertension to be the top health conditions that prompt the displaced to seek medical consultations.

As of November 7, 32 fatalities have been recorded, 17 of which are children under five years old.

Concerned with the possible spread of sexually-transmitted infections, the City Health Office has conducted mobile outreach missions to various evacuation centers. Of late, they have seen 66 clients. Of those checked, 7 were found positive for sexually-transmitted disease and all were given treatment, counselling and IEC (information, education & communication) materials.

Agbulos expressed worry over the insufficiency of bathing facilities and toilets, as 19 out of 36 water samples collected tested positive for coliform.

“Open defecation remains a problem inside the evacuation center and congestion at the grandstand is still a concern as this may trigger other health concerns especially the clogged drainage,” he said.

Several children have been identified to be either severe acute malnourished or moderately acute malnourished. To fight malnutrition, the World Food Program (WFP) has distributed ready-to-eat food.

WFP also prepared rice to be distributed to pregnant mothers who are on their third trimester and lactating mothers with 0-6 month old baby. They will each receive a sack of rice monthly for six months.

Senior citizens who are weak, sick and frail as well as those over 70 years old were also identified to receive rice assistance from WFP.

In addition, a separate bunkhouse had been appropriated as the senior citizens quarters where the elderly would be relocated. A medical personnel will be assigned to attend to their needs, Agbulos announced. — Claudine Uniana