Speaking at the Kapihan sa Manila Bay forum at Cafe Adriatico in Manila, Duque said they considered the establishment of couple’s nest for the evacuees.
Ted Aljibe/AFP
DOH backs ‘couple’s nest’ for evacuees
Sheila Crisostomo (The Philippine Star) - January 23, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Health Secretary Francisco Duque III yesterday supported the provision of private spaces dubbed “couple’s nest” in Tagaytay City for spouses displaced by the eruption of Taal Volcano.

Speaking at the Kapihan sa Manila Bay forum at Cafe Adriatico in Manila, Duque said they considered the establishment of couple’s nest for the evacuees.

“We’ve been discussing that it should be part of the program of the government. But this might result in having more babies among the evacuees,” he said.

Duque said the use of couple’s nest should be limited.

On Monday, the local government of Cavite announced that private rooms would be available at evacuation centers in Tagaytay for couples who fled their homes amid Taal Volcano’s unrest.

The city health office said they want to provide a place where couples can enjoy their private time.

In the room, there is a single bed and bottled water.

Spouses who want to use the private rooms should first undergo a family planning seminar.    

Batangas provincial health officer Rosvilinda Ozaeta said she is in favor of providing couple’s room for the evacuees, citing that even in jail conjugal visits are allowed.

The Department of Health (DOH) has also provided vaccines to children staying at evacuation centers in Calabarzon.

Under the DOH’s expanded immunization program, the agency is giving vaccines for illnesses such as poliomyelitis, tuberculosis, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, hepatitis B, measles, mumps, rubella, tuberculosis and pneumonia.

The DOH allotted a funding of P7 billion for the procurement of vaccines this year, according to Duque.

He urged parents to have their children vaccinated to ensure their protection from diseases.

Duque said around 3,773 evacuees sought consultations for common illnesses, including influenza, acute respiratory infection, hypertension, eye irritation, skin diseases and minor injuries.

He said there were clustering of diarrhea cases at the evacuation sites, but this has been contained. 

Based on data from international child rights group Save the Children, around 124,000 children were displaced by Taal Volcano’s eruption.  

Jerome Balinton, Save the Children Philippines humanitarian manager, said measures should be undertaken to ensure the wellbeing of children in evacuation centers.

“We are concerned that students may miss their graduation in three months,” Balinton said.

The government estimated that at least 580,000 pupils from more than 1,000 schools have been missing out on classes for the past two weeks.

Of the number, around 55,000 schoolchildren come from six abandoned towns located in the danger zone where classrooms were damaged and buried under toxic ash. – With Arnell Ozaeta, Rainier Allan Ronda 

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