Sa nakukuhang reports ng mga militanteng mambabatas, tila hindi El Niño ang dahilan ng mga water interruption.
The STAR/Edd Gumban
Hospitals also hit by water shortage
Sheila Crisostomo (The Philippine Star) - March 14, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — At least five hospitals of the Department of Health (DOH) in Metro Manila are now gravely affected by the water crisis, Secretary Francisco Duque III disclosed yesterday.

Duque noted that “very low water pressure” has been experienced at the Rizal Medical Center (RMC) in Pasig City; National Center for Mental Health in Mandaluyong City; and National Kidney and Transplant Institute, Philippine Children’s Medical Center and Quirino Memorial Medical Center, all in Quezon City.

“We are monitoring the situation vis a vis the water shortage that’s been happening. Water is fundamental in ensuring hygiene and sanitation, which are a must in the operation of hospitals. For infection control and infection prevention measures, water is a must – no ifs or buts,” Duque told a press briefing.

Affected first by the water shortage was RMC, which was prompted to limit the admission of patients to some specialty wards yesterday, like the operating room and emergency room, to prevent disease outbreaks.

According to Duque, they will use the RMC experience as a “template” in addressing similar situations in other DOH hospitals as they do not want to compromise the health and welfare of patients.

“Our patients are already immuno-compromised. If there are hygiene and sanitation issues, they could have infections on top of their illnesses and we cannot let that happen,” he added.

For the RMC’s part, medical center chief Relito Saquilayan said they started experiencing water shortage last March 7 so they decided to prioritize critical patients for admission.

Saquilayan added that yesterday morning, they “lifted the limiting” on admissions after they were able to get water supply from the Philippine Red Cross, Maynilad, Manila Water and local government.

Duque said in a radio interview that he was given assurance by Manila Water that it will not let DOH hospitals run out of water by making water deliveries “as long as necessary, but it will depend on the availability of adequate number of water tankers.”

He said the DOH will file a petition for “mandamus” to compel Manila Water to ensure sufficient water rationing to DOH hospitals until water supply gets back to normal.

“Uninterrupted operations of hospitals is our priority. We cannot compromise the health of our patients. Lives are at stake and we need everybody’s cooperation,” he added.

The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) helped out in the water shortage problem in areas affected by the Manila Water service interruption, supplying water to RMC in Pasig.

Sen. Richard Gordon, PRC chairman, said the agency mobilized two water tankers, which can load up to 64,000 liters of water per batch, to fill the hospital’s 145,000-liter reservoir.

Gordon said PRC is prioritizing hospitals to ensure that healthcare services will not be interrupted and to avoid health complications, such as sepsis, a blood infection.

PRC is planning to acquire more 10,000-liter water tankers to assist other affected hospitals in Metro Manila.

The Mandaluyong City government has appealed for more assistance to supply water to residents.

Jimmy Isidro, city public information officer, said representatives of Manila Water told Mayor Carmelita Abalos during a meeting that the situation in Mandaluyong will only normalize by August when La Mesa Dam is expected to be replenished.

Abalos, together with other city officials, met with officials of the water concessionaire last Monday where measures on how to ease the water supply crisis were discussed.

Reelectionist Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito, chairman of the Senate health committee, urged the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) to ensure that hospitals have steady and sufficient water supply amid forced rationing in many parts of Metro Manila.

In a statement, Ejercito called on the BFP to give extra attention to hospitals for water rations, while attending to the needs of residents in communities now experiencing water shortage.

“Hospitals and medical facilities can’t afford to run out of water because the lives of the patients would be put in extreme danger. That’s why I am calling on the BFP to ensure steady water supply in these facilities because patients need it,” he said. – With Rainier Allan Ronda, Emmanuel Tupas, Paolo Romero

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