In response to the magnitude 6.6 earthquake that hit several parts of Mindanao on Tuesday, October 29, 2019, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) immediately dispatched volunteers, staff, rescue teams, Emergency personnel and ambulances to South Cotabato, Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat, North Cotabato, Davao del Sur, General Santos City and Davao City and is continuously assessing and monitoring the situation on the ground to determine further assistance needed.
“People have been evacuated such as in Kidapawan City, North Cotabato, the Philippine Red Cross has assisted in evacuation of families,” PRC Chairman and CEO Richard Gordon said.
Welfare desks have been established in North Cotabato and Davao del Sur to relieve the stress and trauma suffered by the residents while hot meals were also provided by PRC at the Dominican Hospital in Davao del Sur.
“In areas where electrical supply and water access have been disrupted, PRC is prepared to deploy field medical tents with generators for the injured and water tankers, bladders and filtration units for the community if needed,” Gordon added.
The concerned Chapters also activated Red Cross Action Team, Volunteers and Search-and-Rescue Teams.
In response to a different crisis situation, PRC recently finished its support to the Mass Polio Vaccination Program of the government in Metro Manila, Davao City, Davao del Sur and Lanao del Sur in Mindanao with more than 65,000 children vaccinated by more than 600 Red Cross volunteers from October 14 to October 27, and a continuation will be held in November 2019 and January 2020.
“The original target children to be vaccinated was only 30,000 but, with so much effort from PRC’s staff and volunteers, the target was doubled,” Gordon said.
This activity is in partnership with the Department of Health and with the support from the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
PRC is also actively responding to the Dengue outbreak and has already served more than 6,600 patients thru its dengue medical tents installed in government hospitals in Iloilo, Cavite and Iligan City.
The Philippine Red Cross (PRC)’s dengue epidemic response operations received a major boost with a P1 million grant from GT Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Metrobank Group.
Chairman Richard Gordon said the timely contribution enables PRC to reach more communities affected by the dengue epidemic, which has now taken 958 lives and infected 229,736 individuals.
“We have a long-standing partnership with the Metrobank Group that mirrors our shared commitment to alleviate the suffering of the people. Thank you, Metrobank and GT Foundation, for once again trusting us. This is for our country that is now facing a crisis due to dengue,” Gordon said.
PRC will utilize the funds to further implement its three-point strategy against dengue epidemic: decongest hospitals by setting up medical tents; ensure supply of quality and adequate blood; and, conduct massive information and cleanup drives through its 104 chapters nationwide.
To date, PRC has assisted 3,231 patients through its 10 medical tents in most affected hospitals in Iloilo, Capiz, Aklan, Cavite, and Iligan. PRC also dispensed 330 blood products for patients with dengue hemorrhagic cases.
Metrobank Group, as PRC’s institutional partner, has collaborated with the organization in reaching out to disaster-stricken communities and expanding its capacity.
During Gordon’s birthday last August, the Metrobank Foundation donated P200,000 to support the PRC ambulance Samaritan program.
PRC also received P2.4 million, which represented the proceeds of Metrobank Group’s appeal to donate to the organization in lieu of flowers for the late philanthropist Dr. George SK Ty.
The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) shows no letup in addressing the dengue crisis as it deployed more medical tents and blood products to support communities with a high number of dengue cases.
Under the leadership of Chairman Richard Gordon, PRC has treated 1,055 patients through its eight emergency medical tents that serve as extension wards and fast lanes in Iloilo, Capiz, and Aklan.
The medical tents are installed at most overcrowded hospitals namely Balasan District Hospital, Sara District Hospital and Guimbal District Hospital in Iloilo; Tapaz District Hospital and Bailan District Hospital in Capiz; and Aklan Provincial Hospital.
PRC recently opened a 60-bed medical tent at the Pagamutang Bayan ng Dasmarinas in the Province of Cavite, where 3,277 dengue cases have been recorded.
“Tens of thousands of patients continue streaming into overcrowded hospital. All hands are on deck to address this deadly epidemic. We set up medical tents, augment the blood supply in most affected provinces, and put our ambulances on standby,” Gordon said.
Gordon also assured that PRC, with the support of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, remains on full alert to supply the blood needs amid the declaration of a national epidemic.
As of August 8, PRC has supplied 330 units of blood supplies to over a hundred patients with hemorrhagic complications from Iloilo and Aklan.
On Wednesday, PRC National Headquarters sent 85 units of frozen blood products to Tacloban and Palawan after it augment 165 blood units to Iloilo and Aklan.
Gordon, who treats the dengue crisis as a “national emergency,” came up with a three-point strategy to address the dengue epidemic—deploy medical tents, maintain the adequacy of blood supply, and mobilize 143 volunteers to conduct cleanup efforts.
PRC maximizes its network of community volunteers through Red Cross 143 and Red Cross Youth programs to track down dengue and conduct clean-up efforts within a 400-meter radius where they are discovered.
“The real solution to dengue is a massive cleanup. The Red Cross is treating it as a national emergency because one dead is already one dead too many,” Gordon said.
AMID THE declaration of dengue outbreak in Iloilo, Aklan, Cavite, Leyte, and South Cotabato, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) assures the public that it has adequate blood supply for dengue patients.
Chairman Richard Gordon said PRC, through its 93 blood service facilities nationwide, is working double-time to ensure the availability of blood supply, especially plasma and cryoprecipitate, which are used to prevent hemorrhagic complications associated with dengue.
“We keep track of the supplies in all our blood facilities in the country. In the event, the blood supply in a specific facility drops to a critical level, we will know immediately which nearby facility can provide additional products,” Gordon said.
PRC National Blood Services recently shipped a total of 165 units of frozen blood products to augment the supply in Iloilo and Aklan.
Aside from blood, PRC is also in the forefront of managing the dengue crisis as it deployed eight sets of emergency medical tents in Western Visayas Region.
PRC set up two of the deployed hospital tents, with a total bed capacity of 40, in Jesus M. Colmenares District Hospital in Balasan, Iloilo, which is currently accommodating over 250 patients against its actual bed capacity of 25.
The medical unit in Balasan has now served to 38 patients. The humanitarian organization is also preparing to set up more medical tents in Aklan, Capiz, and Guimaras.
Data from the Department of Health shows that the dengue crisis has affected 115,986 individuals this year.
“We have started to fill the gaps in the dengue outbreak response, but we have no plans to slow down. Much needs to be done to protect people’s lives. There is a need for a fast and consistent response,” Gordon said.
“Red Cross 143 volunteers are alerted to initiate community cleanup drives. As our eyes and ears on the ground, they are also tasked to report more cases of congestion of hospitals in their areas.”
The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) intensified its information campaign concerning health problems to protect the people and the community from waterborne diseases, influenza, leptospirosis, and dengue these monsoon months.
PRC is reminding everyone to take extra precautions as this is the high-risk period during which infectious diseases spread easily. Communication materials, house to house visits and health seminars are part of the awareness campaign of the Red Cross.
“PRC’s 104 Chapters are all set, as are the staff and volunteers to organize health campaigns to raise awareness of the health hazards brought by the rainy season. These campaigns are always done in coordination with the local health centers and offices,” PRC Chairman Richard Gordon said.
The Red Cross’ pool of community volunteers, known as 143 volunteers, are tasked to report directly to the chapters in case of verified outbreaks.
The PRC has sufficient supply of blood in its 93 blood centers nationwide to cater to the people in case there will be an outbreak of dengue, leptospirosis, or other health concerns.
Residents are encouraged to clean their surroundings especially possible breeding places of mosquitoes to avoid being infected with dengue virus. Suspected dengue symptoms are: high fever (40 degrees Celsius / 104 degrees Fahrenheit), skin rashes, severe headache, muscle and joint pains, nausea, and swollen glands. The next 24-48 hours with these symptoms are fatal. Proper medical care and attention are needed to avoid complications and death.
Leptospirosis can enter the body through open wounds, the eyes, or mucous membranes. Humans become infected through direct contact from the urine of infected animals like rodents. Symptoms are high fever, chills, headache, jaundice, diarrhea, fatigue, sore throat, joint and muscle pains, rashes, reddish eyes, and abdominal pains to Weil’s disease with organ dysfunction. Immediate medical attention is advised. People wading through flood waters are at a high risk of contracting this disease.
The general public is urged not to swim or dabble in flood water, use protection like umbrellas, raincoats, boots and gloves, boil tap water before drinking, drink fruit juices and plenty of water, get enough sleep and drink vitamin C to boost the immune system. It is also advisable to wear pajamas, long pants and long sleeves to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. Strong insect-repellant lotion should also be applied to keep mosquitoes away.
“Let’s observe proper personal hygiene and keep our surroundings clean to steer away from these diseases,” added Gordon.
PRC is noted for its excellence in providing blood as well as safety, health, welfare, disaster management and other humanitarian services.
For emergencies, contact our 24/7 Operations Center. Dial 143 or 790-23-00 for assistance.