Campaign for a Safer and Fun-filled Yuletide Season

Bicol’s Department of Health-Center for Health Development (DOH-CHD) has intensified its campaign for a safer and fun-filled Yuletide season.

Nestor Santiago, the DOH-CHD regional director on Friday said his agency has already coordinated with local government units (LGUs) and concerned government agencies including the Philippine National Police (PNP) to shore up the firework injury campaign hailed as APIR or Aksyon: Paputok Injury Reduction.

Also dubbed as the Give Me Five campaign, the department has called on LGUs to designate firecrackers zones and enforce laws and ordinances on banned firecrackers.

Surveillance and monitoring of firecracker injuries is now ongoing until January 7, he said.

Santiago said meetings with focal persons of eight sentinels or reporting hospitals has been conducted to clarify roles. These hospitals are the retained government hospitals, the Bicol Medical Center in Naga City, Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital in Legazpi City and Bicol Sanitarium in Cabusao, Camarines Sur.

The provincial hospitals of Camarines Norte, Sorsogon and Masbate along with the Eastern Bicol Medical Center in Catanduanes and the Naga City Hospital were also named as sentinel hospitals.

DOH Bicol hopes to reduce the number of 62 firecracker-injury cases reported in 2010, which was more than double of 2009’s 28 cases. Also, five cases of gunshot injuries, two of which were from stray bullets, were treated last year.

Last year, casualties were mostly children below 10 years old.

No watusi ingestion case was reported in 2010 as this has been banned and removed from the market. However, harm caused by piccolo registered a high number among children, most of which were eye injuries. The health department called on parents and adults not to let youngster play with piccolo.

The APIR campaign emphasizes five reminders that the community must remember to prevent harm and injury. These are: fireworks cause injuries and endanger health; children should not use any fireworks; keep away from exploding fireworks; never pick used nor unspent fireworks and; seek immediate medical treatment for all fireworks injuries.

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