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PIA Press Release

DOH releases interim guidelines for prevention and control of Influenza A(H1N1) in schools

by Jennifer P. Gaitano

Butuan City (5 June) -- Following the worldwide spread of the Influenza A(H1N1), the Department of Health (DOH) Caraga released the Interim Guidelines No. 10 for the prevention and control of Influenza A (H1N1) in Schools, this was learned during the recently held press conference at the DOH-Caraga Conference Room, this city.

According to DOH, the set guidelines consists of their recommendations to school authorities when only a few confirmed cases of Influenza A (H1N1) has been identified and DOH has not yet established the pattern of susceptibility of the population to the A H1N1 virus and the virulence or severity by which the same virus could cause illness to the Filipino people.

Also, according to DOH, the general recommendation is to monitor the occurrence of influenza-like illness and prevent its spread among the school population. Influenza-like illness that are to be watched out for include suspected, probable or confirmed cases of influenza A (H1N1).

It can be recalled when DOH Sec. Francisco Duque issued the guidelines in influenza A (H1N1) Response Levels in Schools, he said that the Response Level System consists of four levels of actions by school administrators based on the national and local situation of confirmed cases and ongoing transmission of H1N1 in the school or community.

Based from DOH report that Sec. Duque clarified that the decision to suspend classes is on a case to case basis following the guidelines set by the DOH.

As to the DOH's recommendations and assessment of local conditions, the suspension of classes within a school can be announced by the school administrators concerned if there is already one or more confirmed case of H1N1 (level 3). At level 4, where there is already community transmission, Department of Education (DepEd), Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and Technical Education Skills Development Authority (TESDA) officials can announce school closure of one or more school is in the affected area.

DOH also announced that prior to creating the School Response Level System for H1N1, their office has already issued an interim guideline for school administrators to prevent and control the potential spread of the novel virus in schools, which outlines the steps and preventive measures that must be implemented within school premises which include educating students on H1N1; promoting handwashing, proper cough etiquette and good hygiene among students; ensuring the availability of facilities for hand hygiene and sanitation; organizing infection control teams, and reporting of increasing incidence of influenza-like illness among students, faculty and non-teaching staff.

With these interim guidelines issued by DOH and released in schools, DOH-Caraga is also closely monitoring the schools in the region of its proper implementation. (PIA-Caraga) [top]

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