Baguio to institutionalize city epidemiologic surveillance system

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The City Council, during last Monday’s regular session, approved on first reading a proposed ordinance institutionalizing the city Epidemiologic Surveillance System (CESS) of the city aligned with the Universal Health Care Act.

City legislators said the city recognizes that effective whole-of-government and whole-of-society action against emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases requires a national government-enabled, local government-led and people-centered response, aligned with the principles of universal health care and pertinent provisions of Republic Act (RA) 11332 or the Mandatory Reporting of Noticeable Diseases and |Health Events of Public Health concern Act.

Further, the city acknowledged that the city-wide system shall endeavor to establish a patient navigation and coordination system, harmonize information and communication technology, medical transport system and network mechanisms for efficient operations and performance management.

Under the proposed ordinance, the city government shall spearhead all response efforts towards emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases or disasters affecting the city; lead in the development of the local health system into an integrated citywide health system that includes both public and private health facilities; initiate the consideration of administrative, technical and managerial functions of the citywide health system over its resources; enact the necessary policies corresponding to needed health system developments in terms of human resource for health infrastructure, equipment, medicines, health commodities, supplies among others; localize national policies and develop local government-led and people-centered sectoral policies for prevention, detection, isolation whichever is applicable; coordinate with the national government through concerned regional offices, access of the network to commodities and medicines, laboratory supplies, human resource for health requirements, among others; collaborate with the network and other government and private entities for the identification, upgrading and operations of temporary treatment and monitoring facilities; provide budgetary financial support for the operationalization of the citywide epidemiology and surveillance system that shall include information and communication technology, transport services, supplies and commodities among others and lead through the local health board in the drafting and finalization of the local investment plans for health that shall include the corresponding plans of the unit and the system.

The council stipulated that primary health care facilities will act as initial triage and navigator of clients or patients during outbreaks and epidemics; ensure the provision of basic health services other than those identified in close coordination with the City Health Services Office (CHSO) and the barangay officials; adhere to other guidelines or issuances that may be cascaded by the national government on infection prevention and control and management of cases and install the necessary precautionary measures for the prevention of possible spread of infection in the health facility; implement risk communication strategies and plans in close collaboration with the CHSO and the barangays; coordinate with the barangay officials of the activation of the barangay health emergency and response teams (BHERTs); information dissemination campaigns and planning for preparations among others. By Dexter A. See

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