MANILA, Philippines – An official of the Department of Health-National Capital Region (DOH-NCR) warned yesterday that uncollected garbage “lying wide open on the streets of Metro Manila” could cause outbreaks of various diseases.
According to DOH-NCR director Dr. Eduardo Janairo, waste such as “excreta, liquid and solid waste from households and the community” pose serious health hazards because they attract flies and rats, which can spread diseases.
Janairo has called on concerned agencies to immediately collect the garbage left by monsoon floods that hit Metro Manila the other week.
As for the waste that remained uncollected, Janairo had dispatched teams of “spray men” to disinfect them.
“We will not wait for an outbreak of various illnesses like flu, fever, diarrhea, cholera and skin problems to happen, that is why sanitation and disinfection teams were already dispatched to specific areas to disinfect the mounds of garbage that are accumulating,” he said.
By disinfecting the waste, Janairo said “germs will be lessened so if there will be another flooding or if they are collected and brought to dumps, the danger that they pose to the public has already been minimized.”
Meanwhile, government doctors and other health workers in flooded areas will have no days off or holidays. Health Assistant Secretary Eric Tayag, DOH spokesman, said government doctors were told to be on standby for a possible surge in leptospirosis cases over the next four days.
“We are calling on local government units to open all the health centers even during the long holidays because government hospitals may not be able to accommodate the big number of leptospirosis patients,” he said.
In the past two weeks alone, the DOH has already recorded more than a hundred leptospirosis cases from three government hospitals in the National Capital Region.
Leptospirosis has an incubation period of three to 10 days before a patient manifests symptoms of the potentially fatal disease. Those who develop a fever after wading in floods must immediately consult a doctor. – With Mayen Jaymalin