TACLOBAN CITY – The Department of Health (DOH) regional office here has asked local government units (LGUs) to regularly check sources of drinking water as several areas in the region have recorded nearly 4,000 suspected cholera cases this year.
Roderick Boyd Cerro, DOH-Eastern Visayas regional epidemiology and surveillance unit manager, said many water sources in the region are vulnerable to contamination, especially during rainy days.
“Water sources should be checked by our sanitary inspectors at least once a month. They must ensure the proper chlorination done by local water districts and service providers by checking residual chlorine level in both sources and households,” Cerro said in a phone interview Friday.
The official said city and municipal governments should invest in capacitating their sanitary inspectors to check water quality.
“Many of our well-trained sanitary inspectors have already retired and the newly appointed ones are not trained of their functions. Although we have been providing basic training in the regional level, they must undergo more training at the University of the Philippines in Manila,” Cerro added.
Training on water safety and sanitation is badly needed, according to the official since many households in the region have no access to safe drinking water.
Based on the DOH Field Health Services Information System 2020 report, of the 1.04 million projected households in Eastern Visayas, only 935,318 or 89.41 percent have access to basic safe water supply.
Areas with low access to basic safe water supply are the provinces of Northern Samar (79.73 percent), Eastern Samar (85.31 percent), and Samar (83.53 percent).
On Thursday, the DOH in Eastern Visayas reported 32 deaths suspected to be due to cholera as undetermined water-borne diseases downed 3, 955 from January to October this year.
Of the total number of suspected cases, 403 samples were tested and 87 were found positive for cholera through laboratory tests only done at the DOH-Research Institute for Tropical Medicine in Muntinlupa City.
Of the 87 confirmed infections, 34 were recorded in Tacloban City. (PNA)