January 29, 2023

Amidst the screening and quarantine procedures being imposed in many countries because of the spread of the novel corononavirus, an official of the City Health Services Office said the Philippines actually has a law mandating the reporting of notifiable diseases and health events.
Dr. Donabel Tubera-Panes of the CHSO Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit said Republic Act 11332, which was signed by President Rodrigo Duterte on April 2019 requires obligatory reporting of a condition to local or state health authorities for notifiable diseases or epidemics.
She advised people with history of travel from countries or areas where disease outbreaks occur to be transparent especially if they exhibit symptoms of a certain disease, for the law carries penalties not only for the concerned individual but also to health personnel and other people who deliberately hide the health condition of an individual.
The mandatory reporting of notifiable diseases to health authorities is a prevention and control mechanism to avert the spread of infection. It is a first line of defense against epidemics and health events of public concern.
The law also mandates public and private physicians, allied medical personnel, professional societies, hospitals, clinics, health facilities, laboratories, pharmaceutical companies, private companies and institutions, workplaces, schools, prisons, ports, airports, establishments, communities, other government agencies, and non-government organizations to actively participate in disease surveillance and response.
The DOH’s Epidemiology Bureau is tasked to come up with a list of nationally notifiable diseases and health events of public concern to aid disease surveillance and response efforts on the national and local levels.
The law also authorizes the DOH Secretary to declare epidemics of national and international concern and local health officers to declare outbreaks in their respective jurisdictions. – Rimaliza A. Opiña