Jinggoy wants Senate to probe cholera outbreak

(THE MANILA TIMES) SEN. Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada has pressed for a Senate inquiry into the reported cholera outbreak in some areas in the country, such as in the Visayas.

The senator on Sunday noted that the Department of Health (DoH) reported 3,729 cases since January 2022, higher by 282 percent than the cases reported in the same period last year.

Cholera, according to the World Health Organization, is an extremely virulent disease caused by ingestion of food or water contaminated with the bacterium vibrio cholerae. It can cause severe acute watery diarrhea affecting both children and adults and can kill within hours if left untreated.

Data from the DoH showed an upsurge in cholera cases, from 976 recorded from January to October last year to 3,729 during the same period this year, with most of the cases reported from Eastern Visayas, Davao Region and Caraga.

Central Luzon, Western Visayas and Eastern Visayas have “surpassed the epidemic threshold levels for cholera during the past 10 months,” Estrada said.

The senator lamented that cholera is “a disease of inequity, disproportionately affecting the poorest and most vulnerable sectors.”

He noted the Global Task Force on Cholera Control report saying that deaths due to the disease are preventable with today’s arsenal of tools, as it can be controlled with a multisector approach through the provision of basic water, sanitation and hygiene services, and oral cholera vaccines.

“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,” the senator said.

“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,” he added.