DOH assures health protection for children during disasters

MANILA-- The Department of Health (DOH) has pledged to provide basic services to children during times of disaster.

"The DOH affirms its commitment to provide for the health, medical and nutritional needs of children, pregnant women and lactating mothers, especially during emergencies," Health Secretary Dr. Paulyn Ubial said in her message read by Health Undersecretary Gerardo Bayugo during the signing of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Republic Act 10821 or the Children's Emergency Relief and Protection Act of 2016.

"The DOH will also provide psychological intervention for children, a service package for sexual and reproductive health, services for survivors of gender-based violence and mental health and psychosocial support."

The signing, held at the Department of Social Welfare and Development's (DSWD) Central Office in Batasan Hills, Quezon City, was led by Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo.

"May this be the springboard of our collaborative efforts to ensure that each Filipino child will always remain cared for and protected," Ubial said.

She noted that according to the World-Based Index Report 2015, the Philippines ranked third among 171 countries with the highest disaster risk for natural hazards, such as typhoons, earthquakes, and epidemics, that lead to injuries, deaths, displacement of people, destruction of relics and facilities, and disruption of services and livelihood.

The health chief further pointed out that during disasters, children are the most vulnerable as they experience physical and psychological trauma, get separated from their families, and suffer from living in temporary shelters. Their education also gets disrupted.

"This law, RA 10821 aims to change all that for the better," she said.

Other signatories to the IRR were the Department of Education, Department of National Defense, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Office of the Civil Defense, Department of the Interior and Local Government, UNICEF, Save the Children, Council for the Welfare of Children, and other partner non-governmental organizations and civil society organizations. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency