Palace defends DOH's strategies vs A(H1N1)

June 26, 2009 8:05 am 

By Zorayda S. Tecson

MANILA, June 26 – Malacanang on Friday defended the Department of Health's (DOH) strategies and programs in addressing the issues concerning the A(H1N1) cases in the country.

"It is better to be overprotective than underprotective in confronting the A(H1N1) virus," Secretary Silvestre Bello III said in a Palace briefing as he asked to let the DOH handle the situation.

"When it comes to a problem like this, let us leave it to the DOH," Bello said in reaction to some senators' claim that Health Secretary Francisco Duque III is using the A(H1N1) issue as his political strategy.

Bello expressed doubt that Duque's regular press briefings are part of the latter's preparation for 2010 elections, who reportedly plans to run as senator.

"I think he is not doing this for political purposes. He is doing this because of his concern to the Filipino people. He is doing this, together with the DOH people, to address the issue on A(H1N1)," he said.

Although Bello said there are some overstatements and over-reactions in confronting the viral disease issue, like the suspension of classes for 10 days, "It is just all right. What is important is there is no Filipino fatality with A(H1N1) virus."

A 49-year-old Filipino woman with a pre-existing heart disease was the first A(H1N1)-related fatality in the Philippines and in Asia. The woman, an employee at the House of Representatives, died of heart failure on June 19.

The number of A(H1N1) cases in the Philippines has swelled to 861, after the DOH listed 134 additional A(H1N1) cases.

On the other hand, the total sum of fully recovered patients stands at 634 or 74 percent of the total number of confirmed cases reported since May 21. (PNA)

LAP/PTR/ZST

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