June 3, 2023

The Department of Health has assured personnel of the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) that they would not lose their jobs once the bill on the establishment Center for Disease Control is enacted into law.

“We assure our personnel in RITM, nobody will lose their work, everybody will be absorbed based on the capacity of each of our personnel in RITM,” DOH officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire said.

Vergeire made the statement in response to speculations that RITM will be abolished and many of its personnel would be unemployed.

“There is no truth to that. In fact, what we are going to do is to further strengthen the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine because we are going to subsume the RITM into our current Center for Disease Control which will have more funds, which will have more support, which will have more experts for us to be further                                  guided into these different tasks that we have,” she added.

The national reference laboratories of RITM will be subsumed under the functions of the Center for Health Laboratories while the clinical research units, the hospital ancillary services and research laboratory functions will be subsumed under the Center for Health Evidence.

Moreover, the biological research and manufacturing functions will be temporarily absorbed under the Center for Health Evidence.

“Just for the information of everybody RITM even wrote the Department of Health and the legislators, they had a position where in the RITM specifically stated that they fully support the establishment of the CDC and that it is a national public health agency where the RITM will be subsumed,” Vergeire said.

The government has relied greatly on RITM’s services during the height of the pandemic for Covid-19 testing.

The DOH aims to move out of the pandemic and ensure health care for all with the creation of CDC through the Senate Bill 2505 or the Philippine Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Act which will establish the Centers for Health Statistics, Surveillance and Epidemiology, Health Evidence, and Reference Laboratories. – PNA 

DOH detects 1st 14 cases of BQ.1 in PH

The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday confirmed that it has detected the “highly transmissible and immune-evasive” Omicron BQ.1 subvariant in the country.

In a media forum, DOH officer in charge Maria Rosario Vergeire reported 14 new cases of the BQ.1 subvariant have been recorded to date.

“What we know so far from this BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 would be that it is more transmissible and also it is highly immune-evasive compared to the other subvariants of Omicron,” she said.

Thirteen of the recorded cases are local cases from the Cordillera, Ilocos, and Central Visayas regions, as well as the National Capital Region.

The DOH has yet to disclose where the remaining case came from.

BQ.1 is an offshoot of the BA.5 Omicron subvariant, which caused the increase in cases in August nationwide, according to health experts. – PNA