Health UPdate Manila: Poison Control, CHITS,worms and increasing AIDS (HIV) cases

Last Friday, I was invited to attend the Health UPdate Manila.  I'm not going to play smart with you.  I admit I am did not study anything about medicine and I am lacking in medical knowledge and awareness.  With that being said, you might be wondering why I'd go to a forum like the "Health UPdate Manila".    
I'm sure a lot of us become afraid or disinterested when we hear technical or complicated words.  But, that should be.  We need to learn and be involved too, especially if the issue is about health because it concerns all of us.
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The forum was a collaborative effort of UP Manila and Coca-cola.  The speakers introduced their topics or program one by one.  After each talk, they were open to questions and inquiries from the media.
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As I registered, I was given some reading materials and a snack.  One of it was the UP Manila Bagumbayan which publishes their social accountability programs.  
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The National Poison & Management Control Center (NPMCC)
It is the first time I've heard of this center and was surprised that they have been serving the country since 1975.  They have four types of services:

  1. Poison Control and Information Service - 24/7 telephone service
  2. Education and Training - 9 different offerings
  3. Research and Development - developing treatment standards
  4. Linkage and Extension Service - provides this to 9 institutions (5 local and 3 international)
In short, they save people from poison in whatever way they can.  It was interesting to learn from Dr. Panganiban that majority of the poison cases are incurred because of suicidal cases.  They overdose themselves with over-the-counter drugs like paracetamol.  Its surprising that kids as young as 12 years old try to suicide through this method.

Community Health Information Tracking System (CHITS)
CHITS is developed by the National Telehealth Center (NThC) of UP Manila.  It is the country's first ever electronic medical record (EMR) system.  What's great about this is that it operates in an open source software so development can be done by anyone for FREE.  Quezon City is the first city to automate it entire health department.  Soon, it will be installed to 72 more health centers.  Seven of which are Super Health Centers.
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CHITS talk
By making records electronic, transfer of data becomes speedy, less costly and efficient.  They can detect signs of an outbreak early and send precautions to other areas to prevent it.  It can automatically generate reports that are compliant with the DOH's Field Health Information System (FHSIS).  The system also features a PhilHealth module which monitors health services rendered to its members and dependents.  

Since hardware is the most expensive component of this project, Dr. Marcelo has told us that they are now using Blackberry's instead through their mobile CHITS or mCHITS.  

I think this is a great development.  Although I think they could later expand this to private and public health institutions too so that there is a wider sharing of health data and research for the benefit of everyone.

AIDS or HIV from death sentence to chronic disease
This is the most shocking and alarming topic of the morning.  According to Dr. Salvana, there were 204 new cases of HIV reported just last month.  This is the largest amount of cases ever.  He told us that while the rest of the world are reporting steady or even decreasing case numbers, the cases here in the Philippines increased by 800%.  

There are two prevention for AIDS:
  1. Highly Active Antiretroviral Treatment (HAART) - prevention rate: 96%
  2. Condom - prevention rate: 85%
Just two weeks ago, I encountered the term "mycobacterium avium complex" so I asked my sister who is taking up medicine about it.  She told me its most likely HIV.  I was surprised because I've never heard of HIV in the Philippines before and this person died young and only a few weeks after being hospitalized.  My sister told me that HIV is like that.  You don't know if you have one and continue to transmit it.  You'll only know 8 to 10 years later when you're dying.  It's scary isn't it?

According to Dr. Salvana you can prevent this by having tested in PGH as cheap as P290.  He showed as a lot of data and the cases are increasing especially in male to male.  But he clarified that male to male is not the cause.  It just so happens that they are very active in having checked so the data reported for them having HIV is higher.  
Worms and their Effects on Human Development
There are 3 soil-transmitted worms the are endemic in the Philippines: 
  1. Trichuris
  2. Ascaris
  3. Hookworms
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Dr. Solon
Those that are often infected are kids because they crawl or play on the ground.  These worms can cause anemia and malnutrition which leads to impaired growth, performance and memory.  To prevent this, we should regularly deworm our kids.  I recall when we were younger, my mom does this every 1 or 2 years.

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UP Manila, Coca Cola and Press Group Pic
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UP Manila and Coca-Cola Group Pic
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Thank you Coca-Cola for the give-aways
As can be inferred, I learned a lot from this session Health UPdate Manila.  It will be a monthly regular forum so expect more updates from me in the future.  Stay healthy until then.=)