Health authorities in South Cotabato are aiming for a clean record in terms of firecracker-related injuries during the upcoming Christmas and New Year celebrations in the area.
Dr. Rogelio Aturdido, South Cotabato health officer, issued such target as they launched an intensified drive against the use of firecrackers in the coming celebrations through the Department of Health’s (DOH) “Aksyon: Paputok Injury Reduction” or APIR campaign.
He said the campaign is symbolized by the popular hand-slapping greeting among Filipinos that also known as “apir” or a local slang for “up here.”
“The program is as a symbol of people in agreement and one in reducing or even eliminating firecracker-related injuries this Christmas season and New Year celebration,” Aturdido said.
Citing their records, the health official said the previous firecracker-related injuries in the area mostly involved males, especially among children aged 10 years and below.
In 2010, he said they recorded 10 firecracker-related injuries from November 30 to December 25 and added 26 more cases from December 30 to the first week of January 2011.
Aturdido said last year’s injury figures increased by 38 percent when compared to their 2009 records.
Of the 36 firecracker victims last year, 35 were males. Sixteen of them were 10 years and below and 13 were aged 31 years and above.
He said most of the injuries were caused by powerful firecrackers and fireworks such as “kwitis, piccolo and triangulo.”
Nine of the victims suffered injuries from “piccolo” explosion, six from “kwitis” and four from “triangulo,” he said.
Aturdido said the Integrated Provincial Health Office’s provincial epidemiology and surveillance unit has not yet recorded any firecracker-related injury this year but noted that could not afford to be complacent about the matter.