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Philippines : House OKs mandatory report of notifiable diseases.

Voting 192-0 without abstention, the House of Representatives on Tuesday approved House Bill 7134, seeking to provide policies and prescribe procedures on surveillance and response to notifiable diseases, epidemics, and health events of public health concern.

The bill refers to notifiable disease as a disease that by legal requirements, must be reported to public health authorities. It refers to health event of public health concern as either a public health emergency or a public health threat.

The proposed Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act, seeks to protect and promote the right to health of the people and instill health consciousness among them.

Likewise, the State shall endeavor to 1) protect the people from public health threats through the efficient and effective disease surveillance of notifiable diseases, including emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases, diseases for elimination and eradication, epidemics and health events of public health concern; and 2) provide effective response system in compliance with the 2005 International Health Regulations (IHR) of the World Health Organization (WHO).

The State also recognizes epidemics and other public health emergencies as threats to public health and national security, which can undermine the social, economic, and political functions of the State.

The State recognizes as well the disease surveillance and response system of the Department of Health (DOH) and its local counterparts as the first line of defense against epidemics and health events of public health concern that pose risk to public health and security.

The bill aims to continuously develop and upgrade the list of nationally notifiable diseases and health events of public health concern with their corresponding definitions; enforce mandatory reporting of notifiable diseases and health events of public health concern to the DOH and its local counterparts; and expand collaborations beyond traditional public health partners to include others who may be involved in disease surveillance and response, such as agricultural agencies, veterinarians, law enforcement entities, and transportation agencies, among others.

It mandates the Epidemiology Bureau under the DOH to regularly update and issue a list of nationally notifiable health events of public health concern with their corresponding case definitions.

The Philippine Integrated Database Surveillance and Response (PIDSR) System and other duly institutionalized diseases surveillance and response systems of the DOH for notifiable diseases and health events of public health concern shall be recognized as the official information systems for mandatory notification of terms provided in the Act.

The DOH, in coordination with the local government units (LGUs), shall ensure that Epidemiology and Surveillance Units (ESUs) are established and functional in all levels of the DOH and its local counterparts, and in public and private health facilities and laboratories as well as ports and airports in all provinces, cities, and municipalities throughout the country.

The bill prohibits breach of privacy and confidentiality; tampering of records or intentionally providing misinformation; non-performance of persons and entities that should report and/or respond to notifiable diseases or health events of public health concern; and non-cooperation of the person or entities identified as having the notifiable disease, or affected by the health event of public health concern.

Any person or entity found to have violated any of the prohibited acts shall pay a fine of P20,000 to P50,000 or face imprisonment of one month to six months, or both, at the discretion of the court.

The Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) shall have the authority to suspend or revoke the license to practice the profession of erring medical professionals. Likewise, the business permit and license to operate of erring institutions and agencies shall be cancelled.

Committee on health chairperson Rep. Angelina Tan, M. D. and Deputy Speaker Linabelle Ruth Villarica are the principal authors of the bill.

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Publication:Mena Report
Date:Feb 28, 2018
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