Gov’t agencies aim to build toilets at Haran compound

THE DEPARTMENT of Health will be constructing toilet and bath facilities at the United Church of Christ in the Philippines to discourage open defecation at the evacuation site, which could contribute to a host of diseases.

DOH and city officials, as well as medical personnel from the Davao Regional Medical Center in Tagum, visited the compound Wednesday to conduct an inspection, as well as check the health of the Lumads.

The DRMC, as of yesterday, was tasked to provide the toilet facilities to more than 700 evacuees coming from Talaingod and Kapalong, in Davao del Norte.

The DOH, meanwhile, is asking the leaders and organizers of the evacuees for permission to conduct a fumigation of the site to avoid the spread of disease in the congested camp.

“But we have to be sensitive to avoid offending them,” DOH regional director Abdullah Dumama said in an interview yesterday.

According to the DOH official, President Benigno S. Aquino III himself was already asking about the situation at the evacuation site, a week after the end of the Manilakbayan visit of Lumad leaders to Manila.

Dumama said the DOH secretary and the President reached out to him during the visit and asked what other support is needed at the site.

“I was told that the President was concerned about the conditions of the Lumads at the site,” Dumama said.

The health agency has also facilitated the transport of mobile ultrasound equipment for patients at the site.

The City Health Office will also coordinate with the patients if there is a need to send them to tertiary care facilities like the nearby Southern Philippines Medical Center, care of PhilHealth as they are indigents.

The Davao Regional Medical Center, formerly the Davao Medical Center, already has an IP desk for the concerns of the Lumads from the hinterlands.

Dumama said this was part of the agency’s improvement of its service delivery network, which aims to reach out to patients that are far from nearby medical care.

An alarming 93%, or 15 out of 16, of the recorded maternal deaths from January to August were Lumad cases in the region, according to the DOH official.

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