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DOH asked to intensify information drive on Ebola

A veteran lawmaker has urged the Department of Health or DOH to intensify its information campaign against the deadly Ebola virus.


Valenzuela City Congressman Win Gatchalian issued the call after DOH National Epidemiology Center admitted that existing measures against outbreaks are not enough to contain Ebola in the country.


“Educating the public about the disease—what it is and how it can be avoided— may as well be our best bet in protecting our citizens from the disease, given the very lenient handling of passengers from other countries in our airports,” Gatchalian explained.


“The promotion of health literacy on Ebola will prepare our people for the possible entry of the disease in the country,” he added.


Gatchalian, who used to serve as Valenzuela City mayor, also thought it would be best for DOH to put more effort in its information campaign and invest in public service announcements aired via traditional and social media as well as health lessons in schools.


He emphasized that health literacy will help slow down the growth of the number of infected and thus help public hospitals cope with the increase in patients.


“If people learn how to defend themselves against the disease, then the education campaign also becomes a stop-gap measure that will ease the burden on our state health facilities,” the lawmaker said.


On Tuesday, Gatchalian deplored the seeming laxity in the screening for Ebola of arriving passengers in the Ninoy Aquino International Airport or NAIA despite the alarming spread of the deadly virus that has claimed the lives of more than 4,000 people.


The World Health Organization said there are still no known treatments and vaccines for Ebola. (Monica Cantilero)