200 Dialysis and Cancer Patients in Benguet Receive P1 Million Cash Aid

La Trinidad, Benguet – In a significant relief effort, 200 dialysis and cancer patients in Benguet received PHP5,000 cash assistance each on Friday. This financial aid is aimed at alleviating the burden of medical expenses for these individuals facing serious health challenges.

According to Philippines News Agency, the financial assistance was provided through the Department of Social Welfare and Development, funded by the office of Senator Lito Lapid. Mayor Romeo Salda indicated that the beneficiaries were selected based on assessments conducted by the municipal social welfare office, using a list from the local organization of cancer and dialysis patients. Laura, a 52-year-old kidney patient undergoing dialysis treatment for three years, expressed her gratitude for the assistance, noting its significant impact on her ability to purchase maintenance medicines.

Benguet Representative Eric Yap revealed that Senator Lapid has been consistently contributing funds for various welfare programs, including cash-for-work, medical assistance, and financial support, since assuming the role of the province’s caretaker in 2020. He also noted that part of the medical fund for indigent patients at the Benguet General Hospital comes from the senator. Lapid, in his message to the beneficiaries, reaffirmed his commitment to providing ongoing support to La Trinidad and the entire Benguet province, encompassing both medical and financial assistance.

In addition to healthcare support, Senator Lapid assured Benguet farmers of his commitment to backing the passage of the anti-agricultural smuggling bill. During his visit to the La Trinidad Vegetable Trading post, he emphasized the importance of farmers’ livelihoods in national sustenance. House Bill No. 9284, aimed at combating economic sabotage through agricultural smuggling, has already been passed by the House of Representatives and is currently at the committee level in the Senate, with Lapid as one of the principal authors and sponsors.

Taiwanese Medical Group Performs Free Craniofacial Surgeries in Davao City

Davao City, Philippines – Eighteen children have benefited from a free craniofacial surgery medical mission conducted by the Noordhoof Craniofacial Foundation, Inc. (NCF), a Taiwanese medical group. The mission took place from November 19 to 24 at the United Davao Specialists Hospital and Medical Center, Inc. (UniDav).

According to Philippines News Agency, the Filipino team leader working alongside NCF, this was the first such mission in the city. The surgeries included post-operative treatments, also offered free of charge. These treatments range from dental services to speech therapy, crucial for full recovery post-surgery. The NCF mission aimed not only to provide free cleft and palate surgery but also to establish the region’s first craniofacial center at UniDav Hospital. This center will ensure local patients, particularly those with financial constraints, have access to comprehensive care without the need to travel to Manila. Teng-Shi Yang, minister of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office, highlighted NCF’s commitment to helping children with congenital craniofacial defects, noting their history of organizing medical missions in the Philippines and training local medical professionals. Among the beneficiaries was Amira Alibonga from Pagadian City, who expressed gratitude for the successful operation on her six-month-old child with a unilateral cleft lip.

DOH-CHD-1 Enhances Diabetic Care with Free Screenings and Lifestyle Interventions in Ilocos Region

Ilocos Region, Philippines – The Department of Health-Center for Health Development in the Ilocos Region (DOH-CHD-1) is intensifying its efforts to combat diabetes through regular free mobile diabetic screenings and promoting a healthy lifestyle.

According to Philippines News Agency, these initiatives are crucial in addressing the increasing cases of diabetes in the region. In a phone interview, Baclig Jr. emphasized the importance of physical activity in diabetes prevention, recommending at least two and a half hours per week of moderate to intense exercise, or daily 20-minute sessions. He highlighted the role of exercise in preventing obesity, a key factor in the development of diabetes and other diseases. Baclig Jr. also cautioned against the health risks associated with prolonged sitting, comparing its dangers to those of smoking.

DOH-CHD-1 identifies the major risk factors for non-communicable diseases like diabetes as physical inactivity, unhealthy diets, smoking, and harmful alcohol use. Baclig Jr. informed that diabetic patients could access services at Rural Health Units, while the DOH-CHD-1 conducts health service missions across the region.

DOH-CHD-1 director Paula Paz Sydiongco stated on Wednesday that healthcare access for diabetes patients is a priority, leading to the deployment of mobile diabetic screening tests in municipalities. These efforts include the distribution of free maintenance medicines and regular consultations to reduce the need for hospital visits.

Sydiongco mentioned that the DOH, alongside partner agencies and stakeholders, regularly conducts diabetes education, nutrition consultations, diabetes testing and monitoring, diet, and weight management to ensure patients have access to proper care and information.

The 2022 Field Health Services Information System (FHSIS) report showed that 7,174 new diabetic patients were recorded last year in the Ilocos Region, including 323 from Ilocos Norte, 902 from Ilocos Sur, 1,425 from La Union, 3,931 from Pangasinan, and 593 from Dagupan City. From 2016-2022, the region has a total of 115,112 recorded diabetes cases.

Former Health Secretary Janette Garin Posts Bail in Dengvaxia Vaccine Case

Manila, Philippines – Former Health Secretary and current Iloilo Representative Janette Garin has posted bail for graft and technical malversation charges related to the controversial Dengvaxia dengue vaccine purchase. Garin maintained her innocence in the case.

According to Philippines News Agency, government funds to procure the Dengvaxia vaccine, valued at PHP3.5 billion. According to Garin, her co-accused, including former Health Undersecretary Gerardo Bayugo, former DOH officer in charge Director Maria Joyce Ducusin, former Health Undersecretary Kenneth Hartigan-Go, and former Philippine Children’s Medical Center executive director Julius Lecciones, have also posted bail.

Garin remarked, “Posting bail is part of the agonizing process to prove our innocence. It is a crucial step in ensuring a fair trial and safeguarding one’s rights.” She expressed hope that this initial step would lead to a timely resolution of the case, which has significantly impacted public confidence in vaccines, resulting in measles and polio outbreaks in the Philippines. Garin stressed, “Resolving the issue once and for all is aligned to the Doctors for Truth clamor because global history has taught us that any vaccine demonized usually spreads to include other vaccine-preventable diseases and results in outbreaks.”

The Ombudsman’s investigation revealed that the procurement of Dengvaxia from Sanofi Pasteur in 2016 was not part of the health department’s expanded immunization program (EPI) and that the vaccines were not listed in Volume 1 of the Philippine National Drug Formulary, violating Executive Order 49, series of 1993, and related administrative orders and issuances. The recommended bail was set at PHP90,000 per respondent in the graft case, and PHP18,000 each in the technical malversation case. Over 800,000 school children were vaccinated in 2016 with Dengvaxia, before Sanofi announced potential adverse effects on those without prior dengue infection.

Benguet Job Fair Offers 2,000 Vacancies for Local and Overseas Employment

Benguet, Philippines – Around 2,000 job vacancies are up for grabs at a job fair scheduled for November 13 to 14 at the Benguet provincial capital, part of the month-long Adivay festival. Julie Tabcao, the province’s Public Employment Services Office (PESO) chief, revealed that 12 local companies and 10 overseas manpower agencies are participating in the two-day event, which coincides with the 123rd Benguet Foundation Day.

According to Philippines News Agency, this annual job fair has become an institutionalized component of the Adivay festival, aimed at assisting residents in their job search. As of Monday, over 300 job seekers had pre-registered with the PESO office, and a significant number of walk-in applicants were already exploring the available vacancies. Tabcao advised those attending the second day of the fair to come prepared with necessary documents, including a resume, employment certificates, passport-size photos, professional licenses for board passers, and passports for those interested in overseas positions.

The job fair features a diverse range of vacancies, with local mining and utility companies like Lepanto Consolidated Mining Corporation, Itogon-Suyoc Resources Inc., and Aboitiz subsidiary Hedcor Inc. looking to hire for various roles including engineers. Other local companies are offering positions such as customer service representatives, heavy equipment operators, cashiers, butchers, and geologists. For overseas employment, there is a notable demand for welders and heavy equipment operators, particularly in Japan and other countries.

Gaza Hospitals Resort to Flashlight Surgery Amid Fuel Crisis

Gaza Strip – Hospitals in the Gaza Strip are facing severe challenges due to an acute fuel shortage, leading medical staff to resort to primitive methods for conducting surgeries. In a new release by the Palestinian Red Crescent, it was reported that surgeons at the Al-Quds Hospital in Gaza are performing procedures in darkened operating rooms using flashlights. This drastic situation arises from power outages caused by the ongoing fuel crisis.

According to Philippines News Agency, The Palestinian Red Crescent has indicated an imminent threat to the Al-Quds hospital’s operations due to the exhaustion of fuel reserves. Despite communication and internet disruptions lasting three days, the hospital staff is committed to maintaining operations. Currently, Al-Quds hospital is experiencing isolation with all access roads blocked, a consequence of the ongoing Israeli bombardment in the area. The Ministry of Health in Gaza has confirmed that 18 hospitals and 46 health centers have become non-operational due to Israeli strikes, severely impacting patient care.

This crisis has put over 3,000 children at risk of losing access to essential oncology and dialysis treatments. Additionally, approximately 50,000 pregnant women are without crucial prenatal and postnatal care for over a month. The situation worsened as almost all hospitals in the besieged Gaza Strip, including Al-Shifa, have been targeted in Israeli airstrikes. Israel’s air and ground attacks on the Gaza Strip, which commenced following a cross-border attack by the Palestinian resistance group Hamas on October 7, have resulted in significant casualties. Official figures report at least 11,078 Palestinians killed, including 4,506 children and 3,027 women, while the Israeli death toll nears 1,600.