DOH-6 adopts new strategies for safe and healthy holidays

By Mariela Angella Oladive

With Christmas and New Year just around the corner, the Department of Health Region 6 (DOH-6) is adopting innovative measures to promote healthy celebrations and reduce the cases of firecracker-related injuries.

Acknowledging the potential for an increase this year on firecracker-related injuries, Dr. Fritzi Ann Suzette Jeroso-Dequito, DOH 6 Health Promotion Unit head, shared on a press conference noticed the spike in fireworks-related injuries after pandemic restricitons were relaxed.

Dequito said this trend prompted them to start the campaign against firecracker use during revelries as early as November 2023.

“In the prior years, we have seen nga grabe ang cases naton sa fireworks-related injuries. Last and this year mas nag open na since post-pandemic, so we are looking into the possibility nga mas magtaas pa ang cases that’s why as early as November nag-start na kami sang amon campaign sa ‘Iwas Paputok’,” she added.

This proactive approach aims to raise awareness and mitigate the risks associated with fireworks/firecrackers during the upcoming holiday festivities.

Dequito emphasized a departure from a lecture-centric approach, from which the campaign is now integrating various engaging activities.

“If there is a difference in our approach now compared before, since before we are more on lectures and forums, but indi ta madula (We cannot do away with them). We still have Information and Education Campaign materials, flyers and posters distributed as early as the end of November. Another will be our station ID for the Ligtas Christmas campaign. Now, indi na sya more on lectures lang, we have different activities,” she said.

Another notable addition is a caroling contest, which is strategically designed to incorporate the advocacy for ‘Iwas Paputok’. This creative approach aims to capture public attention and instill safety consciousness during the holiday season.

The campaign, moreover, extends beyond firecracker safety. Dequito said it encompasses broader health concerns, including paying attention to diabetes and hypertension.

Moreover, mental health has been incorporated into the campaign’s framework, recognizing the challenges that individuals may face during the holiday season.

“The campaign for Christmas is not only focused on ‘Iwas Paputok.’ But it is also focused on having a healthy diet even in this holiday season and having a healthy celebration amidst all of the handaan (parties) and all of the Christmas parties that we have,” Dequito reiterated.

This year’s holistic approach by DOH seeks to address various health aspects, ensuring a comprehensive and well-rounded effort to safeguard the well-being of the community.

Through collaborating with different agencies like local government units (LGUs), and Barangay Health Workers (BHWs) among others, the DOH-6 promises to look into the effectiveness of these initiatives in reducing the prevalence of fireworks-related injuries and promoting overall health awareness.