Press Release
October 3, 2006

Dra. Loi mulls research fund to develop vaccine vs

Opposition Sen. Dra. Luisa Loi Ejercito Estrada yesterday said she is set to sponsor a bill creating a special fund to hasten the search for the cure against dengue, hepatitis and other diseases that have been wreaking havoc in people's health.

Estrada, a medical practitioner by profession, said the seeming lack of focus and coordination by health authorities and other agencies in dealing with dengue and other preventable diseases have now reached alarming proportions.

Unless a special research facility with adequate fund and dedicated to the search for a vaccine to cure dengue, yellow fever, malaria and other diseases is put up now, we can only expect the number of victims to go up, Dra. Loi said.

She added that dengue victims for example, are no longer confined to urban poor residents and other informal settlers, citing the case of her own grandson Jolo, who was struck down by dengue last week. His sickness prevented my son, Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, from effectively discharging his duties as a member of the Upper Chamber, Dra. Loi noted sadly.

Another recent dengue victim is Ma. Mercedes Salgado-Gregorio, wife of Purefoods basketball team coach, Bryan Gregorio, who remains confined at the Polymedic Hospital in Mandaluyong City.

Maria Mercedes is the daughter of former Pampanga Vice Gov. Cielo Macapagal-Salgado, elder sister of Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Dra. Loi noted that what made Gregorio's situation more complicated is the fact that she is already pregnant when she came down with the disease.

If even talented people with a lot of potential contribution to society are nowadays falling victim to dengue, then we can consider the situation alarming, noting that just last month, over thirty persons were confirmed in dengue outbreaks in Metro Manila and Pangasinan, Dra. Loi said.

Dra. Loi said while she knows that her proposal is a tall order to begin with, dillydallying would result in more casualties and more tragedies.

I am inviting experts from the academe and the health department for inputs that could be used in the putting up of a modern research facility to deal with these modern scourge, Dra. Loi said.

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