MANILA, Philippines – Private health facilities are ready in case monkeypox enters the country, the Association of Private Hospitals of the Philippines Inc. (PHAPi) said yesterday.
According to PHAPi president Jose Rene de Grano, the spread of monkeypox can be prevented mainly by isolating cases and currently “all hospitals have isolation facilities or a ward for infectious cases” due to of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Currently what we need are isolation areas if we come across suspects of monkeypox,” he noted in text messages.
De Grano added that hospitals could manage monkeypox cases because, so far, COVID cases are manageable.
“Monkeypox cases usually have milder symptoms than chickenpox, unless the patient is debilitated or immunocompromised,” he said.
He, however, stressed that correctly and immediately recognizing the symptoms of monkeypox is important to effectively control its spread.
“There should be appropriate recognition of monkeypox-related symptoms, immediate isolation, and symptom notification and management. At least 21 days of quarantine per directive,” he added.
Monkeypox is a zoonotic disease first detected in West and Central Africa.
But recently, cases have been detected in non-endemic countries like the United States, Canada, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands- Bas, Spain and Sweden.
Symptoms of monkeypox include fever, severe headache, muscle aches, back pain, low energy, swollen lymph nodes, and rash or sores.
No OFW infections
According to the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), no Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) have been infected with monkeypox so far.
OWWA chief Hans Cacdac said the agency has not received any reports of monkeypox cases among OFWs from various Philippine embassies and overseas Philippine labor offices.
“There was no report, thank goodness,” Cacdac said in Filipino during a TV interview yesterday.
Cacdac, however, assured that the Philippine government is ready to provide necessary assistance in case Filipinos abroad contract the infection.
The OWWA, he said, will also provide livelihood assistance or scholarships to OFWs who choose to return home for good after being infected with the virus.
In a separate television interview, Cacdac said the government is preparing the list of Filipinos who have expressed their desire to be repatriated from Sri Lanka.
There are around 700 Filipinos in Sri Lanka, but Cacdac said not all should avail of the repatriation scheme. “Some are in a safe place not affected by the crisis,” he said.
Cacdac said the OWWA was coordinating closely with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on repatriation efforts.
For those who choose to stay in Sri Lanka, Cacdac said the government is ready to provide financial assistance so that they can meet their basic needs.
Cacdac said Filipinos in Sri Lanka are calm and have been advised not to participate in political actions there. – Mayen Jaymalin