(Feature) DOH encourages 1:1 ratio of parent-child attendance at the Papal Mass at Rizal Park on Jan. 18

January 8, 2015 1:33 am 

By Leilani S. Junio

MANILA, Jan. 7 (PNA) — With just a week before the start of Pope Francis' Jan. 15-19 Apostolic Visit to the Philippines, the Department of Health (DOH) is advising parents, children, elderly and sickly people wishing to see the revered pontiff in person to observe proper precautions to avoid any possible problem.

According to DOH Acting Secretary Janette L. Garin, a ratio of one parent or guardian for every child is the ideal way of bringing children to attend the much-awaited Papal Mass at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila's Rizal Park on Jan. 18.

In a press briefing at the DOH Media Relations Unit in Sta. Cruz, Manila on Tuesday, Dr. Garin explained that such "one parent, one child" policy is necessary so that parents can always keep a close watch over their children to prevent them from getting lost or hurt during exposure to millions of other people eager to have an encounter with Pope Francis.

“While during the Feast and Procession of the Black Nazarene of Quiapo, we are discouraging parents to bring their children, especially infants for safety purposes, in case of the Papal Visit, we advise them (parents) to just bring one kid or a ratio of one child per parent or guardian that will watch them,” the acting Health chief said.

She added that bringing of more kids can cause discomfort for parents as there is always a risk for some children to get lost or be hurt accidentally in such an unusually big gathering of people.

Secretary Garin said that elderly people who also want to have a glimpse of the Pope should be accompanied by attentive care givers to keep close watch on them.

For pregnant mothers who are about to give birth or already in their due date and having contractions, she advised that it will be safer if they will just stay home and watch the Papal Visit telecast on television for it will be inconvenient for them to give birth along the street or in the middle of a big crowd.

Garin also reminded those with diabetes mellitus to bring “candy/candies” with them as “emergency supplies” in case they suffer "hypoglycemia" or condition wherein there is an occurrence of lowering of blood sugar.

In such condition (hypoglycemia), there is inadequate supply of glucose (sugar) to the brain that can result to impairment function which may lead to headache, dizziness, weakness, seizures, unconsciousness and even permanent damage, she said.

“In line with these, we also urge leaders of Catholic churches to include in their pastoral letter the reminders also for safety purposes of the devotees and participants,” Garin said.

She added that participants in the Mass should make sure that they bring with them plenty of water to avoid dehydration.

She also suggested that instead of using umbrellas with pointed portions, the participants can opt to use raincoats so that others will not be hit by the pointed edges of the umbrella and not obstruct as well others viewing the Pope, especially during the Mass.

Garin said the DOH is coordinating closely with the Catholic church and organizers of the Papal Mass to ensure that enough clinics and ambulances are vitally located and ready to bring possible patients or injured ones to the nearest hospitals.

According to her, medical teams will be deployed in the said ambulances and clinics through the support of different non-governmental organizations, private partners and volunteers to ensure that medical treatment is readily available whenever needed.

“Each team has a communication device and will know which ambulances will be used and where to bring the patients,” the Health chief said. (PNA)

SCS/LSJ

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