DOH’s slow response to AGE, cholera outbreak in Iloilo City dismays mayor

By John Noel E. Herrera

As the Iloilo City Government is taking the necessary measures to address the acute gastroenteritis (AGE) and cholera outbreak in the city, Mayor Jerry P. Treñas expressed dismay over the Department of Health’s (DOH-6) purported slow response to these food and water-borne diseases.

In a press conference, Treñas said the city government is at least expecting guidance and aid from DOH-6 as the local government struggles to stem the spread of food and water-borne diseases.

“Bisan sa amon gani subong sa acute gastroenteritis, gahulat-hulat ko nga mahatag sila guidance sa amon, daw waay gid ah,” he added.

(Even with our cases of acute gastroenteritis here, we have been expecting their guidance, but we have received nothing.)

Treñas also said that DOH-6 was not releasing funds to help with preventive measures, surveillance, and treatment.

“Ang LGU amo na ya ang frontline. Mabudlay man na ya nga ara budget sa ila, waay man sila may gina-obra, dayon ang local government ya amo ang ga-atubang sa mga problema,” Trenas added.

(The frontline is the LGU. It is difficult because they have the budget, but they don’t immediately respond, while the local government faces this problem.)

Meanwhile, DOH-6 regional director Dr. Adriano Suba-an earlier said that they have already provided logistics for LGUs that needed assistance, like Iloilo City, which included Oral Rehydration Solutions, fluids, and antibiotics.

He added that they also provided technical support to local governments through its Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (RESU) as the DOH-6 was the one that was sent out for testing the collected specimens for cholera confirmation.

DOH-6, however, clarified that despite the increase in cases, vaccination against AGE and cholera is not a priority yet, as they are still focusing on coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccination.

“Hopefully we have that cholera vaccination program in the future. Sa ngayon kasi medyo hindi pa masyadong priority, maybe in the development area. What we are focusing on right now is the COVID-19 vaccination,” Suba-an said.

Iloilo City already recorded 30 cholera cases with no deaths, and 744 AGE cases with 14 deaths, as of Oct 2, 2022.

Data from Iloilo City Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (ICESU) indicated that out of 744 AGE cases, 28 are still active, while 702 have already recovered.