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.
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.