Estrada seeks Senate probe into cholera outbreak

(POLITIKO) Sen. Jinggoy Estrada wants the Senate to look into the public health programs of the Department of Health (DOH) after 33 people died from a cholera outbreak that hit impoverished communities in the provinces.

In filing Senate Resolution No. 266, Estrada on Sunday said the deaths caused by cholera were preventable and that oral vaccines were already available to treat patients infected with the intestinal disease.

“More than ascertaining the whys and the wherefores, the situation strongly calls for a review of existing policies to prevent and mitigate the outbreak of the disease,” Estrada said.

“There is a need to protect the population, especially the children and the underprivileged, against this debilitating yet preventable illness through a coordinated approach among government agencies,” he maintained.

He said the DOH recorded only 976 cholera cases from January to October 2022.

The cases, however, surged by a whopping 282 percent as the DOH reported that 3,729 people fell ill to cholera during the same period this year, he added.

“The existing policies and programs on sanitation and immunization must be reviewed in order to enhance emergency response mechanisms and preventive measures against the transmission of the disease and to promote public health,” Estrada said.

Majority of the patients were from the provinces in Eastern Visayas, Davao and Caraga regions.

On the other hand, Estrada said cholera cases in Central Luzon, Western Visayas and Eastern Visayas had “surpassed the epidemic threshold levels for cholera during the past 10 months.”