PIA News Service - Thursday, May 7, 2009

DOH Caraga intensifies campaign on new swine flu virus

BUTUAN CITY – Following the swine flu pandemic scare affecting US, Mexico, Europe and other Asian countries, the Department of Health Center for Health Development (DOH-CHD) Caraga intensifies information campaign on the new human flu H1N1 virus.

Recently, DOH Caraga calls for a press conference here, this city to update the tri-media and the Caraganons on the swine flu status in the country.

As of press time, there are no recorded cases of swine flu or H1N1 virus in the country. Nonetheless, DOH Caraga left nothing to chance as it step up its campaign against swine flu or H1N1 virus.

Part of DOH Caraga’s intensified information campaign is a weekly press conference on the swine flu or H1N1 virus. Every now and then, the department will also issue updates regarding the status of the virus so as to prevent panic among the public.

The new human flu H1N1 virus is caused by a new virus that resulted from the reassortment of 4 viruses from pigs, human and birds. There is no vaccine yet to protect humans from this virus but there are existing and recommended medicines that are effective in treating these viruses.

The signs and symptoms of the virus is similar to that of the regular flu, such as fever, headache, fatigue, muscle or joint pains, lack of appetite, runny nose, sore throat, cough, vomiting or nausea, and diarrhea.

The virus can be transmitted through exposure to droplets from the cough and sneeze of the infected person. It is not transmitted by eating thoroughly cooked food. The new virus is contagious however it is not known how easily the virus spreads between people.

You can protect yourself from the virus through simple hygiene, such as covering your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing. Always wash your hands with soap or you may use alcohol-based hand sanitizers. Also avoid close contact with sick people.

You can also protect yourself by increasing your body’s resistance by having at least 8 hours of sleep, being physically active, managing your stress, drinking plenty of fluids and eating nutritious food.

If there is a sick person at home, immediately bring the sick person to a doctor. Provide a separate room in the house, if this is not possible, keep the patient at least 1 meter away from other family members. Use surgical mask when caring for the sick person. Wash your hands with soap and water thoroughly after each contact with the sick person. Have proper ventilation where the sick person stays and keep the environment clean. (Lovely Laudette D. Gamba, PIA-Caraga)


RDCC Caraga prepares for swine flu

BUTUAN CITY – Amidst reports of a swine flu pandemic in neighboring countries and in line with the government’s aim of preventing the entrance and the spread of virus in the country, the Regional Disaster Coordinating Council (RDCC)-Caraga prepares for the dreaded swine flu or H1N1 virus.

Recently, RDCC Caraga calls for an emergency luncheon meeting here in this city to draw up a preparedness plan for the swine flu or H1N1 virus. The meeting is conducted in anticipation of the tourists upsurge in Siargao for the International Game Fishing Tournament and Butuan for the Balangay festival.

It is expected that for the coming weeks the region particularly Siargao and Butuan will be flooded with tourists, balikbayans and visitors. Thus RDCC Caraga is compelled to draw up a preparedness plan for the swine flu or H1N1 virus.

The plan is expected to boost the region’s security and contain if not prevent the entry of the virus in the region. The plan is also expected to enhance coordination among member agencies for faster response in case of infection for more coordinated efforts and stricter policy implementation.

Among the strategies discussed is the strengthening of security in the different entry and exit points such as airports, seaports and bus terminals. This includes the provision of thermal strips since there are no thermal scanners available for the region’s airports.

DOH will also assign personnel in the airports, seaports and bus terminals that would assess the health conditions of the tourists through a questionnaire. Barangay Health Workers will also be utilized to monitor the tourists’ health conditions in their respective barangays.

As of the latest report the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared pandemic alert 5. This is characterized by sustained community level outbreaks in at least two countries in one WHO region.

As of May 4, there are already 506 cases in Mexico with 19 deaths; 226 in the United States with 1 death; 85 cases in Canada, 15 in the United Kingdom; 40 in Spain, 4 in New Zealand; 8 in Germany, 3 in Australia and 1 in Hongkong, Costa Rica, Denmark, France, Ireland, Italy, Republic of Korea, Switzerland and Netherlands.

The new human flu H1N1 virus is caused by a new virus that resulted from the reassortment of 4 viruses from pigs, human and birds. There is no vaccine yet to protect humans from this virus but there are existing and recommended medicines that are effective in treating these viruses. (Lovely Laudette D. Gamba, PIA-Caraga)


DTI-Caraga to intensify Bayong Development Project

BUTUAN CITY - The Department of Trade & Industry Regional Office strengthened its campaign to educate consumers to use ‘bayong’ instead of a plastic bag.
DTI Regional Director Brielgo Pagaran said, the Bayong Development Project is one of the components of the Comprehensive Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program, the project sees the bayong as the focus of a sustainable livelihood program with the two-fold benefit of boosting the economy and diminishing ecological imbalance.

Caraga region will intensify the advocacy to use bayong as an alternative to plastic shopping bags, in an effort of emphasizing to consumers the need to conserve and protect the environment, at the same time play a beneficial role in the protecting ones health from the hazards of plastics.

According to DTI Regional Director Pagaran, communities will undergo trainings on bayong weaving which is not new to many especially women organizations in the countryside of the region, as this is part of the cultural heritage and raw materials are in abundance like pandan leaves, buri and abaca.
(Jocelyn Morano, dxBN-Radyo ng Bayan Butuan/ PIA-Caraga)