Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Overseas Filipino workers returning from countries hit by Ebola virus need medical clearance

The Department of Health (DOH) is planning to require a medical clearance from Filipinos who are returning from Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, which have been struck by the deadly Ebola virus, Health Secretary Enrique Ona said.

Secretary Ona said the medical clearance would state if the Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) has been exposed to people who have contracted or have died of Ebola fever.

He suggested that before coming home, the OFW should observe himself for 21 days to see if he shows any symptom of the disease.

He noted that Ebola fever is not contagious until the patient shows symptoms.

“Ganito ang unique about Ebola, hindi nakakahawa habang wala pang symptoms... Therefore, dapat mga 21 days ka na walang symptoms na parang influenza. Then, pwede ka nang makauwi,” he said.

As soon as the OFW arrives in the country, he will fill out a form so that the DOH could monitor his health, Ona said, adding that if the OFW does show symptoms of the disease, he should get in touch with the DOH via a phone call or a text message.

“Kung meron kang symptoms of parang ‘nung bad flu, sasabihin namin ‘pumarito ka’, parang ‘pumunta ka doon’. Let’s say, nasa Mindanao ka, nasa Cagayan de Oro, sasabihin namin kung saan kang ospital pupunta,” he explained.

He said the department has identified hospitals all over the country where Ebola patients will be isolated and examined.

He said the screening will focus on people returning from Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, where there are 1,755 OFWs.

Asked if the Philippines would send health workers and volunteers to the three countries, Ona said the government is still discussing this.

“We will be helping whether in kind or whatever. But kung anong klaseng tulong, hindi pa nade-desisyunan,” he said. (PCOO News Release)

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