DOH deploys more teams to check Leyte’s water system quality


The Department of Health (DOH) has deployed health teams this week to check more water systems in Leyte after acute watery diarrhea has downed 98 typhoon survivors.

The health department expressed concern of possible diarrhea outbreaks if authorities will not be able to rectify the problem and if households will not be cautious in ensuring the safety of potable water supply.

DOH assistant regional director for Eastern Visayas Paula Paz Sydiongco said that after a team from the central office completed their initial water system check, local teams have been deployed in different towns to randomly check water quality.

Of the 45 water systems tested last week in Leyte, 22 were positive of coliform bacteria, including supply from pipes of the Leyte Metropolitan Water District (LMWD).

“Supply from water systems was found positive of coliform or the water has presence of human feces. This is probably caused by leaks in pipes,” Sydiongco said.

Of the 98 admitted in hospitals, 51 were in Ormoc District Hospital in Ormoc City, 47 in Kananga Community Hospital in Kananga, Leyte and 13 in Mother of Mercy Hospital in Tacloban City.

DOH assistant regional director Paula Paz Sydiongco said that of the 22 sites tested positive of coliform, one site was in Sta. Fe town, 12 sites in Tacloban City and nine sites in Tanauan town.

Most of these water sources are within evacuation centers and residential areas with evacuees.

Among the sites with contaminated water sources were Sta. Fe Elementary School in Sta Fe, Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center, Barangay San Isidro, Tacloban City National High School and San Jose Elementary School in Tacloban; Barangays Calogcog, San Roque and Canramos in Tanauan town.

“Some sites were not positive, but residual chlorine level was below the .5 parts per million per liter of water discharge,” Sydiongco explained.

Tested water systems are water bladder, tanks, dug wells, spring, faucets, water district cut service connections and hand pumps.

Reached for comment, LMWD information officer Marites Pascua said in a text message they have to check the report and apply another round of chlorination if necessary.

Earlier, DOH Assistant Secretary Pauline Ubial confirmed that even water supply in purifying stations are not also safe due to gradual use and poor maintenance.

When the water supply was restored a week after super typhoon Yolanda slammed into the region, the Local Water Utilities Authority assured the potable water was safe for drinking.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Philippine government have been distributing aquatabs and chlorine to address contamination. These supplies are also available in health facilities and rural health units. PNA


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