The Philippines takes action against cholera outbreak

The national government of the Philippines has sent health workers to a remote municipality in the western tip of the county after reports that the area has suffered dozens of deaths from a cholera outbreak.  

Jesse Robredo, the nation's interior secretary, gave instructions to the regional officers of the Department of Interior and Local Government in the Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Marinduque, Rom blon and Palawan (Mimaropa) regions to assist in stopping the outbreak in the Batarza municipality in Palawan, Gulf News reports.

The country’s Department of Health said that the main causes of the outbreak are drinking unclean or contaminated water in addition to the poor sanitation practices of residents.

"Aside from attending to the needs of the victims of the cholera outbreak, their tasks include conducting a cleanliness and sanitation campaign in their communities," Robredo said, according to Gulf News.

According to Senator Loren Legarda, the outbreak has claimed 19 lives in Batarza from March 1 to April 12. At least seven of the deaths were children under five years of age.

Legarda, the chair of the Committee on Cultural Communities, said that most of those affected were children from the indigenous Palaw-an group.

"Cholera is a disease that is preventable and can easily be treated,” Legarda said, according to Gulf News. “It did not have to lead to the morbidity of a significant number of people. This is an indication of the lack of proper medical services and health education being provided to our indigenous communities.”