Gov't urged to put teeth to AO 21
Tuguegarao City (June 11) -- The Health Care Without Harm-Southeast Asia (HCWH-SEA) recently renewed its call to the Philippine government to "put teeth into the Health Department's AO 21" by ordering immediate importation ban on mercury.
In a press release emailed to this office, Faye Ferrer, HCWH-SEA Program Officer for Mercury in Health Care said Administrative Order 21 which mandates the gradual phase-out of all mercury-containing devices in all Philippine health care facilities and institutions by September 2010 needs not just teeth, but claws as well, to make it work.
"While the Philippines is leading in terms of having a national policy on mercury phase-out in health care, we are lacking in implementation," Ferrer pointed out.
"The Department of Health (DoH) is targeting 100% mercury phase-out in the DoH-retained hospitals by September but there are 1,851 hospitals all over the country, not to mention the rural health units and other small health facilities controlled by the local government."
Barely three months into the DoH imposed deadline, several facilities are still at a lost of where to source funding for mercury alternatives. "Funding is already allocated but the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has yet to release it," says Ferrer.
Mercurial thermometers and sphygmomanometers are still readily available in big and small drugstores operating in the country. Another concern raised by those already phasing-out mercurial devices is on the longer disposal area for phased-out devices. (PIA 2) [top]