President Rodrigo Duterte has declared the second week of March as “Philippine Digestive Health Week”, stressing the need to raise awareness on diseases and conditions relating to digestive health.
Proclamation No. 930, signed by Duterte of March 18, directs the Department of Health (DOH) to lead, coordinate, and supervise the nationwide yearly observance of the Philippine Digestive Health Week.
“There is a need to promote awareness, educate the public, and pool resources for the prevention and management of various diseases and conditions relating to digestive health,” the proclamation read.
All other agencies and instrumentalities of the national government, including government-owned or -controlled corporations and state universities and colleges, local government units, members of the private sector, civil society groups, and professional organizations were encouraged to actively participate and provide the necessary support and assistance to the DOH for the successful conduct of programs, projects and activities relative to the observance and celebration of the week-long event.
The proclamation was signed recognizing that the “Universal Health Care Act” (Republic Act No. 11223), mandates the state to adopt an integrated and comprehensive approach to ensure that all Filipinos are health literate, provided with healthy living conditions, and protected from hazards and risks that could affect their health.
Among the leading causes of deaths in the Philippines are related to the digestive tract, which includes among others, liver cancer, colorectal cancer, peptic ulcer disease, diarrhea, and stomach cancer.
These diseases and conditions may potentially preventable if the necessary interventions such as screening, public education, advocacies and awareness programs are readily available to the public.
Duterte signed the Philippine Digestive Health Week declaration 10 days after he placed the entire country under a state of public health emergency through Proclamation No. 922 due to the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak.
As of Thursday, the Department of Health (DOH) reported a total of 217 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the country including 17 fatalities.
Duterte has also placed the country under a state of calamity and the entire Luzon under enhanced community quarantine to contain the coronavirus.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the Covid-19 outbreak a pandemic which means a worldwide spread of a new disease.
The symptoms of Covid-19 are fever, cough, and shortness of breath while in more severe cases, the infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome and sometimes death. (PNA)