In an effort to extend healthcare services to the most vulnerable sectors and communities in need, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) Health Caravan provided free medical assistance to 27,842 people from January to May of 2023, across the country.
The Health Caravan program is a comprehensive range of services, such as health consultation, dental and optometry service, health and hygiene promotion, first aid lecture-demonstration, vaccination against measles, rubella, polio, and COVID-19, as well as bloodletting and blood typing service. Vitamins, over the counter medicines, hot meals and health kits are also distributed.
PRC Chairman Richard J. Gordon stated, “The Philippine Red Cross is dedicated to making a positive impact on the health and well-being of our communities. Our Health Caravan demonstrates our commitment to providing vital medical services to those who need it most.”
“We are proud to have reached over 27,000 individuals through our Health Caravan in just the first five months of this year. The provision of essential healthcare services and the distribution of meals and health kits showcases our commitment to improving the lives of the most vulnerable in our society,” PRC Secretary General Dr. Gwendolyn T. Pang added.
The Philippine Red Cross continues to make a significant difference in the lives of thousands of individuals, promoting better health and well-being across communities.
🚑💙 Bringing Medical Care to Communities: An initiative of Philippine Red Cross Chairman Richard J. Gordon, the PRC Health Caravan has provided free medical services to thousands of individuals across the nation from January to May.
This week, our dedicated volunteers and staff from PRC chapters in Bohol, Cavite, Baguio, and Ilocos offered health consultations, vaccinations, bloodletting, and more. “The PRC Health Caravan remains committed to extending healthcare services to every corner of the nation,” says PRC Secretary General Dr. Gwen Pang.
🏥✨ PRC’s Health Caravan also promoted health and hygiene practices, conducted first aid lectures, and distributed hot meals and health kits. Through these efforts, PRC hopes to make a positive impact on the lives of thousands, building healthier and stronger communities! 💙🌍
According to the latest data from the Philippine Red Cross’s (PRC) Operations Center, 30 barangays in Zamboanga City were affected by floods due to shear line-driven heavy rains. On 11 January, the PRC Zamboanga City Chapter distributed Doxycycline, a prophylactic agent used for the treatment of Leptospirosis, to 500 affected individuals in Barangay Guiwan and Barangay Pasonanca, Zamboanga City.
PRC Health Services explained that floodwater increases the exposure of communities to Leptospirosis and other water-borne diseases. An individual with open wounds or skin lesions can become infected through direct contact with water, soil, and mud contaminated with infected animal urine. Without immediate and proper treatment, Leptospirosis can damage kidneys and cause liver failure. Children and pregnant women, however, cannot take the medication.
“Marami sa ating mga kababayan ang napipilitang sumulong sa baha. Nagpadala tayo ng doxycycline sa Barangay Guiwan and Barangay Pasonanca para tulungan ang ating mga kababayan na protektahan ang kanilang sarili laban sa banta ng Leptospirosis. Nakatakda tayong magpadala pa ng sapat na supply ng doxycycline sa mga apektadong lugar para matulungan ang mas marami pang biktima ng baha sa Zamboanga,” said Chairman and CEO Richard J. Gordon.
Furthermore, heavy rains also displaced 1, 516 families in Western Samar, Masbate, Northern Samar, and Misamis Occidental. In line with this, the PRC placed its relief assets, equipment, and volunteers on standby to provide humanitarian assistance intuitively and rapidly to affected areas within the next 24 hours.
As of 10 January, the PRC has provided the following humanitarian aid to communities affected by shear line-induced rains since the Christmas weekend: 219,650 liters of clean and safe water through its water tankers and bladders, psychological first aid to 2,714 adults and children, hygiene education to 1,574 people, hygiene kits to 446 families, jerry cans to 355 families, water search and rescue to 201 individuals, including children, sleeping kits to 360 families, non-standard food ration and bread to 138 families, first aid services to 134 persons, and health education and medicines to 87 people.
Increased transmission risks of waterborne, Influenza, Leptospirosis and Dengue (WILD) Diseases are unfolding in several provinces of Mindanao as unprecedented flooding continues. In addition to humanitarian aid, the Philippine Red Cross on 07 January also intensified the implementation of its health campaign across different PRC chapters in Mindanao.
To shed light on the nature, risks, symptoms, and prevention of WILD Diseases, the PRC Mindanao chapters mobilized the Red Cross 143 (RC143) volunteers to post and distribute brochures and flyers, disseminate information through SMS alerts and texts, and conduct health promotion sessions in Gingoog, Oroquieta, Tangub, Ozamis, Lanao del Norte, Zamboanga City, Cagayan de Oro, Agusan del Norte, Surigao Del Sur, and Iligan City.
PRC Chairman and CEO Richard J. Gordon reiterated the importance of preventive measures in restraining the transmission of WILD Diseases. “Mataas ang infections risk ng ganitong mga sakit [WILD Diseases] sa mga komunidad na may baha dahil ginagawa itong breeding ground ng mga daga at lamok. Maaring mapababa ang risk kung patuloy nating tutulungan at bibigyan ng kaalaman ating mga komunidad sa Mindanao sa kung paano maiiwasan ang pagkalat ng Leptospirosis, Dengue at iba pang waterborne diseases. Nananatiling alisto ang ating Health unit at volunteers sa Mindanao sa pagsasagawa ng mga health campaign,” explained Chairman Gordon.
In addition to health campaigns, the PRC Health Services sent Doxycycline, a prophylactic agent used for the treatment of Leptospirosis, to Mindanao. According to the PRC, an individual with open wounds or skin lesions can become infected through direct contact with water, soil, and mud contaminated with infected animal urine. Without immediate and proper treatment, Leptospirosis can damage kidneys and cause liver failure. Children and pregnant women, however, cannot take the medication.
As of 09 January, the PRC has also provided the following humanitarian aid to communities affected by floods caused by the shear line over the Christmas weekend: 191,650 liters of clean and safe water through its water tankers and bladders, psychological first aid to 2,714 adults and children, hygiene education to 1,574 people, hygiene kits to 446 families, jerry cans to 355 families, water search and rescue to 201 individuals, including children, sleeping kits to 360 families, non-standard food ration and bread to 138 families, first aid services to 134 persons, and health education and medicines to 87 people.
As the Philippines’ health department reports an increase in hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) cases, Philippine Red Cross (PRC) Chairman and CEO Richard J. Gordon advised the premier humanitarian organization’s network of barangay-based volunteers to be vigilant. HFMD is a highly contagious viral infection that is common among infants and children. Gordon added that greater caution is needed as children interact with each other in face-to-face classes and with family during the Christmas season.
“PRC’s Health Services Team has alerted all our 100+ chapters — and our RC143 volunteers — to be vigilant and report to our Operations Center information from the barangays on HFMD cases,” Gordon said.
It is different from foot-and-mouth, or hoof-and-mouth, disease of cattle, sheep, and swine. People infected by HFMD are most contagious during the first week of their illness. Its incubation period is two to 14 days. Its signs and symptoms are fever, sore throat, malaise (feeling of being unwell), painful, red, blister-like lesions on the tongue, gums, and the inside of the cheeks, red rash, without itching but sometimes with blistering, on the palms, soles, and sometimes the buttocks, irritability in infants and toddlers, and loss of appetite.
HFMD is transmitted through contact with nose and throat discharges and saliva of infected persons and contaminated objects. Good hygiene, such as proper handwashing, can decrease the risk of spreading the disease. Disinfection of premises and all infected surfaces will also help.
More than 2,000 clients and patients from Baguio City, Bataan, Batangas City, Bulacan, Ilocos Norte, and Pangasinan availed themselves of medical and health services from the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) Health Caravan from October 1 to 22, 2022. One of the communities reached was Barangay San Jose, San Miguel, Bulacan, which experienced severe flooding in the aftermath of Super Typhoon Karding in September.
An initiative of PRC Chairman and CEO Richard J. Gordon, the Health Caravan serves as the conduit for delivery of basic health services to the most vulnerable communities. It is also an opportunity for nurses and doctors to volunteer with the PRC. Through its Health Caravan, the PRC promotes and protects health and prevent diseases.
“Laging nandyan ang Red Cross para magbigay ng essential health and medical services sa ating mga kababayan, lalo na ngayong panahon ng pandemya,” Chairman Gordon said.
In partnership with the local government units, the PRC Health Caravan is organized by PRC chapters’ volunteers and staff, with support from the Health Services Unit of the PRC National Headquarters. The program offers a combination of the following services: health consultation, health and hygiene promotion, first aid lecture-demonstration, Covid-19 vaccination, and bloodletting and blood typing services. Hot meals and health kits are also distributed to participants in some areas. The PRC Health Caravan has served around 10,000 clients and patients across the country since it started in March 2022.
The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) warned the public of dengue fever risk and gave advice on how it can be prevented as the country observes Dengue Awareness Month in June.
The PRC Health Services explained that dengue fever is a mosquito-borne infectious disease that causes a severe flu-like illness. It can progress into two life-threatening conditions: dengue hemorrhagic fever and dengue shock syndrome. The virus that causes dengue is passed on to humans from animals through the bite of an infected mosquito.
The symptoms are sudden onset of high fever, which may last from 2 to 7 days; joint and muscle pain and pain behind the eyes; weakness; skin rashes; nose bleeding when fever starts to subside; abdominal pain; vomiting of coffee-colored matter; dark-colored stools; and difficulty of breathing.
PRC reminds the public of the 4 Ss to prevent dengue:
Search and Destroy: Cover water drums and pails; Replace water in flower vases once a week; Clean gutters of leaves and debris; Collect and dispose of all unusable tin cans, jars, bottles, and other items that can collect and hold water.
Self-Protection Measures: Wear long pants and a long-sleeved shirt; Use mosquito repellent every day.
Seek Early Consultation: Consult the doctors immediately if fever persists after 2 days and rashes appear.
Say Yes to Fogging when there is an impending outbreak or a hotspot.
The PRC Health Services gives the following advice: If medicine for fever will be given, do not give aspirin. Ensure a person suspected of having dengue is well hydrated. If fever or symptoms persist for 2 or more days, bring the patient to the nearest hospital.