Press Release
September 15, 2019

Zubiri urges government to build more hospitals as dengue cases soar to 250,000
Visayas tops the list of dengue hotspots

Sen. Migz Zubiri called on government "to build more hospitals that are overburdened with Dengue cases that reached more than a quarter of a million nationwide and killed more than a thousand mostly children five to nine years of age."

"Doctors and hospital directors have been forced to convert gyms and basketball courts into Dengue wards. This will be a scenario repeated over and over with other diseases, if we go business as usual. We have to build more hospitals," said Zubiri. The Department of Health declared a national dengue epidemic in August following the national dengue alert in July as cases rapidly increased in public and private hospitals. Dengue cases soared to 115,986 for the January-July 2019 period which is 109% higher than last year in the same period.

Headlining the news are cases mostly in Metro Manila but, Western Visayas has the most number of cases with 42,694 and 186 deaths. Next are the following: Calabarzon (35,136 cases, 112 deaths); Northern Mindanao (18,799 cases, 69 deaths); Zamboanga Peninsula (17,529 cases, 93 deaths); and, Eastern Visayas (17,107 cases, 52 deaths).

"We face three more months of virulent cases since dengue strikes most from May to November. Literal na patung-patong ang mga pasyente ng dengue sa mga ospital. Sa Region 6 ay napakaraming pasyente ng dengue at hirap umagapay ang mga doktor & nars dahil kulang na kulang ang mga pasilidad kahit na basic bed."

"Kung maging masipag man tayong lahat sa paglilinis para mapuksa ang lamok ng dengue, talagang nahihirapan pa rin na gamutin ang mga pasyente. Siksikan ang mga ospital ng gobyerno na tinatangkilik ng mga mahihirap nating kababayan."

"Everyone is aware of the dangers of dengue, yet many hesitate to go to the hospital early enough. They have to scrape around for transportation and out of pocket expenses. Rural health units and 20,045 barangay health centers are just walking distance but because these lack doctors, nurses and medicines, many are forced to seek treatment in far away Manila," said Zubiri.

"Even if we don't face a dengue epidemic, we have to ramp up our public health facilities. The country has a dismal bed to population ratio of 1:1,000. Our target to improve to 1:800 ratio will set us at par only with Southeast Asian countries. It is still a low target."

"I propose to increase the health facilities budget of the Department of Health by building more tertiary hospitals, modernizing existing provincial hospitals and setting up specialty hospitals with modern blood bank facilities in all regions. The war against Dengue could be over in December but the normal demand for health services by our countrymen especially the poor need to be addressed proactively," Zubiri concluded.

"Every year, 1.5 million Filipinos are driven to poverty because of medical expenses despite our PhilHealth packages. We have to bring doctors, hospitals and medicine to the people and stop the congestion and dismal situation in our public hospitals. Health care is a basic human right," Zubiri stressed.

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