The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) celebrates Global Handwashing Day (GHD) 2021, with the theme, our future is at hand, let’s move forward together. GHD is a global advocacy day dedicated to increasing awareness and understanding about the importance of handwashing with soap as an easy, effective, and affordable way to prevent diseases.
PRC Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) unit spearheads the event to reach 1,000,000 children and educate them on the importance of proper handwashing. A webinar will be held on October 15, 2021. The webinar will cover relevant topics and key messages on proper hand hygiene along with influential speakers and subject-matter experts.
PRC Chairman and CEO Sen. Dick Gordon once became a brand ambassador of Safeguard in 2008, to promote proper handwashing to children. This partnership led PRC to extend its operation through the WASH unit to educate of handwashing with soap so they can protect themselves against preventable diseases, during times of disasters, calamities, and especially the pandemic.
“Mahalagang maturuan natin ang kabataan ng proper handwashing dahil ito ay makakatulong upang maiwasan ang diseases kagaya ng diarrhea, cough, colds, pneumonia, and skin rashes. It is important to arm them with basic knowledge on how to protect themselves so that in the future these children will teach the future generation, and together, we can move forward,” Sen. Dick Gordon said.
PRC through its local chapters has constructed WASH facilities in schools and communities to make it accessible for the residents of proper handwashing. PRC also provided portable handwashing facilities and drumvatories in schools, markets, and isolation facilities as part of its COVID-19 response, as the study shows that proper handwashing can prevent the spread of COVID-19.
WITH THE rapid increase of dengue cases in the country, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC), under the leadership of Chairman Richard Gordon, deployed medical tents to assist hospitals currently experiencing an overflow of patients.
The Red Cross has set up 10 airconditioned medical tents in most affected hospitals—Balasan District Hospital, Sara District Hospital, and Guimbal District Hospital in Iloilo; Tapaz District Hospital and Bailan District Hospital in Capiz; Aklan Provincial Hospital; Pagamutang Bayan ng Dasmarinas in Cavite, and Gregorio Lluch Memorial Hospital in Iligan.
These hospital tents have now served 2,526 patients—mostly children aged eight months old to 12 years old.
Vida Obon, mother of a one-year-old patient at PRC’s medical tent in a hospital in Cavite, feared the possibility of having her son transferred to a hospital in Manila, which is a two-to-three-hour ride from the province.
“Noong nasa emergency room kami, sabi ng doctor, wala nang kama dahil sa sobrang dami ng pasyente,” Obon said. “Natuwa naman ako nung sinabi na merong tent ang Red Cross. Dahil dito, hindi na kami kailangang ma-transfer sa malayong hospital.”
According to Richard Soriano, father of an 11-year-old patient, the congestion in the hospital raised concerns that his son PJ, who was diagnosed with scoliosis, could worsen his condition.
“Palaging sumasakit ang likod niya kaya natakot ako na baka mailagay siya sa siksikan na kama. Buti na lang dito sa tent ng Red Cross, maluwag. Nakakapagpahinga siya ng maayos,” Soriano said.
PRC, in partnership with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the German Red Cross, continues to support the Department of Health (DOH) to assist hospitals, especially in rural areas.
The deployment of medical tents is part of Gordon’s three-point strategy to address the dengue crisis—decongest hospitals, ensure the adequacy of safe and quality blood supply, and conduct massive information and cleanup drives.
“Hindi na magsisiksikan sa mga ospital ng Dasmariñas, Iloilo, Capiz, Iligan at Aklan ang mga may sakit ng Dengue. Lingid man sa kaalaman ng karamihan, hindi tumitigil ang PRC sa pagtulong sa mga nangangailangan, umulan man o umaraw,” Gordon said.
Latest report from the DOH shows that the number of dengue-related deaths this year spiked up to 882—a 63-percent increase from last year—while 208,917 dengue have been affected by the dengue crisis.