DOH: Firecracker injuries down 60%, lower than 2011-2015 average

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DOH: Firecracker injuries down 60%, lower than 2011-2015 average
A man awaits treatment following a firecracker-related injury at a raucous celebration of New Year Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017 in Manila, Philippines. The country's notorious tradition of dangerous New Year's Eve celebrations persisted after President Rodrigo Duterte delayed to next year his ban on the use of powerful firecrackers, often worsened by celebratory gunfire.
AP Photo / Bullit Marquez
MANILA, Philippines — The Health department reported a 60 percent decrease in fireworks-related injuries this year compared to the five-year average from 2011-2015. 
In a press briefing Sunday, Health Secretary Paulyn Jean Rosell-Ubial said that a total of 350 fireworks-related injuries were recorded by 50 sentinel hospitals nationwide as of 6 a.m. on January 1.
The number was also lower by 60 percent than the same period last year. In 2016, the Department of Health (DOH) recorded 920 cases of injuries nationwide due to fireworks from Dec. 21, 2015 to Jan. 5, 2016. 
Ubial said the decrease was "remarkable." She said the decrease might be attributed to the people's fear of lighting firecrackers due to the president. She said the public has the impression that they will be caught and punished if they use firecrackers.
The Health secretary also said that the media and cooperation of local government units to organize public fireworks displays contributed to the decrease in injuries this year.
Ubial said that Metro Manila has the most number of firecracker-related injuries with 211 cases or 60 percent of the nationwide tally. Western Visayas followed with 10 percent of cases and Central Luzon with 8 percent.
The DOH also reported that majority of the injured were children below 15 years old.
Ubial said that the banned firecracker piccolo is still the number cause of injuries with 132 cases while there were two recorded cases of ingestion.
The ingestion victims were a 6-year-old from Cainta and a 4-year-old whose brother thought that pop-pop, another banned firecracker, was medicine.
The DOH called on to parents and children not to pick up firecrackers on the streets. It also urged those injured by firecrackers to head to the hospital for treatment even if they only sustained small wounds, warning that tetanus can be deadly.
Meanwhile, Ubial also called for prayers for a stray bullet victim.
She said that the victim is now using a ventilator as breathing was affected. She said an operation could not be done as it would be more damaging to the patient.
The DOH will continue monitoring firecracker-related injuries until January 5.

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