DOH to use two-pronged approach in waging its 'Iwas Paputok' campaign

December 15, 2014 1:23 pm 

BUTUAN CITY, Dec. 15 — If in the past the health department alternately used the scare tactics and the positive approach to convey its messages in the agency’s anti-firecrackers campaign, this year the Department of Health (DOH) will employ both strategies in their various information and advocacy materials.

This was pointed out by Sunshine Alipayo, DOH-Caraga information officer during a recent forum launching the anti-firecracker campaign held at the Luciana Convention Center function hall, J. Rosales Ave., this city attended by the regional Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and Philippine National Police (PNP) representatives and the local media.

During the forum, Alipayo echoed Acting Health Secretary Janette Loreto-Garin’s call on the public to celebrate the holidays with utmost caution, quoting the national top health official as saying that “there are other means to celebrate than exploding firecrackers and lighting fireworks. Mahalaga and buhay. It is not worth risking losing lives and limbs.”

DOH reported 1,018 fireworks-related injuries during the 2013 holiday season all over the country. The DOH said that this is 9 percent higher compared to 2012. Their 2013 figures came from 50 sentinel surveillance hospitals gathered from December 21, 2013 to January 5, 2014.

According to the DOH, most cases in 2013 came from the National Capital Region (587), followed by CALABARZON (80), Western Visayas (73) and Ilocos Region (65). Fifty-one percent involved males of 6 to 15 years old.

Of the 1,018 cases recorded, 997 were due to fireworks injuries, 19 were due to stray bullets and 2 due to firecracker ingestion. One death was reported caused by sustained multiple injuries due to explosion of mixed firecracker powder. Of the 997 fireworks injuries, 25 were sustained blast wounds that required amputation. There were also 147 eye injuries.

The DOH surveillance revealed that the top fireworks involved in injuries were piccolo (38 percent), kwitis (11 percent), five-star (5 percent) and plapla (4 percent). Some 12 percent were unknown fireworks. Picolo, five-star and plapala are prohibited.

Among the 19 stray bullet injuries, 15 were males and 4 were females with ages ranging from 2 to 65 years old. Firecracker ingestion cases involved males ages ranged from 1-year old to 6-years old. Ingested firecrackers were lucis and pop-pop.

In the Caraga region, DOH-Caraga recorded 45 incidents of fireworks-related injuries region wide from December 21, 2013 to January 5, 2014 as reported by the different hospitals in the region. Alipayo said that this is a 60 percent increase from the previous year’s cases. Of the 45 cases, 43 or 95 percent of which were active cases, wherein the victim themselves lit the explosive fireworks. Two or 5% were passive cases, onlookers or bystanders. Ages ranges from 6 to 35 years old. Majority of the cases belonged to 6 to 35 years-old bracket.

This year’s campaign, Alipayo said, aims to inform the public, particularly the young male population on how to prevent injuries from firecracker use. Alternative ways to spend Christmas and New Year’s Eve were also discussed. (PNA)

FFC/NBN/JSD

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