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PIA Press Release

Region 12 leads in mercury phase-out in hospitals

Koronadal City (4 December) -- Hospitals in Region 12 or SOCCSKSARGEN Region lead the more than 600 hospitals in the country in complying with the Department of Health (DOH) mandate to phase out use of mercury-containing devices.

Of the 106 members of Philippine Hospital Association in SOCCSKSARGEN, 71 (67%) have already implemented DOH-Administrative Order No. 21 mandating gradual phase out of mercury in all health care facilities and institutions in the country.

SOCCSKSARGEN surpassed implementation levels of Cordillera Administrative Region, 4B (MIMAROPA) and Region 5 (Bicol) rank highest with 58%, 53%, and 52%, respectively.

Recently, the Health Care Without Harm-Southeast Asia (HCWH-SEA), an international coalition of hospitals and health care systems, medical professionals, community groups, health-affected constituencies, labor unions, environmental and environmental health organizations and religious groups, commends the Philippine hospitals for their efforts to achieve mercury-free status.

In the recent DOH National Conference on Mercury Phase-out in Health Care, Merci Ferrer, HCWH-SEA Executive Director, specifically salutes the more than 600 mercury-free hospitals in the country, saying "we can achieve zero mercury in this lifetime."

"We commend the hospitals who have phased-out mercury and those who have expressed full support to the phase-out," Ferrer said.

Ferrer cited that in a recent survey, data show that majority of the hospitals started mercury phase-out during the 1st and 2nd quarter of 2010 only.

This was the time when HCWH-SEA conducted information campaign in different regions to promote the AO.

Lack of information and budgetary constraints were raised as issues for the delayed implementation.

"The compliant hospitals represent 34% of the total number of hospitals in the Philippines.We still have 66% of the total number of hospitals to work with but with all concerned sectors working on this common goal of zero mercury, we will get there."

HCWH-SEA calls on the local government units to support mercury phase-out in the provincial, rural, and barangay health units.

"The next ball is now in the hands of the LGUs," Ferrer said.

"LGUs must now enter the scene when it comes to mercury phase-out in in health care. Due to the devolved nature of our health care system, regulations pertaining to LGU-controlled health care facilities must come from their respective local officials through local ordinances." Ferrer added.

HCWH-SEA is sending letter to all provincial governments to give preference to mercury phase-out. (Dani Doguiles/PIA 12) [top]

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