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Ph health workers to undergo training on ebola prevention


QUEZON CITY, Philippines – Health workers will undergo specialized training starting this month to combat the ebola virus disease (EVD) which has been plaguing the world because of its 50 to 90% death rate.

The Department of Health (DOH) in a statement said that foreign experts on infectious diseases are coming to the Philippines to train doctors and health workers on how to detect and treat cases of EVD and prevent the spread of the disease in the country.

DOH spokesman Lyndon Lee Suy said the government, with assistance from the World Health Organization (WHO) is initiating the specialized training.

“The training will be in three batches, the first composed of doctors from government-run hospitals, followed by those from private hospitals and the last batch will be for health workers from medical facilities under the different local government units nationwide,” Lee Suy said.

Health workers from Armed Forces of the Philippines hospitals will also participate in the three-day training since these facilities will be used to quarantine Filipino peacekeepers coming home from Ebola-plagued Liberia, Lee Suy added.

This was confirmed by WHO Country Representative Julie Hall who said that a WHO specialist on public health and health experts from US-based Johns Hopkins University and the International Committee of the Red Cross are arriving in Manila to conduct a three-day training on Ebola infection prevention starting on Oct. 28.

“WHO Philippines will be working with DOH to provide training on the detection and treatment of EVD and on how to prevent its spread here in the Philippines. The health workers trained will be essential for Philippine efforts to protect the country from the potential threat of the disease,” Hall said.

The training, starting October 28 and every week thereafter, has been designed and will be jointly managed by the DOH and WHO Philippines. Experts in infectious diseases and EVD, have been recruited from within the Philippines and overseas to give the specialized training.

An orientation will also be given on the geographical and cultural setting in West Africa to help provide background for all participants on why the disease has spread there and what has been done to bring it under control.

The training will be made available to (3) groups of participants coming from: 1) all DOH-referral hospitals, 2) private hospitals, and 3) local government hospitals. Participants from each hospital will be composed of the hospital’s infection control specialist, doctors, nurses, and medical technologists.

The training is being delivered using a mix of practical exercises and theoretical learning and will be based on standard WHO training on EVD.  It will involve pre- and post-training examinations. In addition to the general training, some of the “classes” will be done by selected groups, for example, the clinical guidelines for the treatment of cases, the principles of outbreak control and response and logistics support.

“After the successful National Ebola Summit held last Friday (October 10), we want to primarily increase the capacity of our health workers nationwide in responding to EVD, like what we did when SARS and H1N1 threatened the country a few years ago,” Health Secretary Enrique Ona declared.

“With all these preparations and with the assistance of international partners like the WHO, we are optimistic that we will be able to respond appropriately to EVD if it enters the country,” Ona concluded.

WHO reported that as of October 14, 4,555 people have died from Ebola out of a total of 9,216 cases registered in seven countries.

Criselda Cabangon David, a happy mother of two kids, is a full-time Sociologist at the City Government of Lucena, Quezon Province. She is currently the Managing Editor of Ang Diaryo Natin Sunday News, a weekly local community newspaper in the Philippines and an active member of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.