FOUR out of 10 Filipino children are infected with intestinal worms and 67 percent of all school-age children have soil-transmitted helminthiasis (STH) commonly known as intestinal parasitism, according to the Department of Health.
The high incidence of parasitism prompted the University of the Philippines (UP) Press to launch a third edition of its best-selling book entitled Medical Parasitology in the Philippines.
Edited by UP Manila College of Public Health Professors Dr. Vicente Belizario Jr. and Dr. Winifreda de Leon, the book was first published in 1998 and has since sold 16,470 copies.
“This disease does not only affect Filipino children. Worldwide, there are more than 1 billion diagnosed cases and approximately 165,000 die every year mostly coming from the one to five-year age group. Through the years, this condition has become a growing public health problem,” said Belizario, a parasitologist and currently an Undersecretary of the Department of Health.
During the launching at the UP Manila Museum of a History of Ideas, Belizario said the book aims to serve as an invaluable tool for graduate and undergraduate students, as well as medical and paramedical professionals in the public health sector.
“Parasitic infections remain as a major challenge to public health especially in developing countries like the Philippines despite significant advances in terms of better understanding of the epidemiology of these infections, improved diagnostic tools and newer approaches to control. The development of this learning resource is a response to these continuing challenges,” Belizario added.
The publication of the latest edition was made possible by a grant from Johnson&Johnson (Philippines) Inc., which also supported the development of the first two editions of the book.
“This undertaking is aligned with our strategic mission to make life-changing, long-term differences in human health,” Sean Zantua, Human Resource and Contributions Director, JJPI, said. “By supporting efforts such as this medical parasitology book, Johnson & Johnson demonstrates how business, governments and health providers can unite to address our most serious health issues and improve quality of life for people in the country.”
The third edition of Medical Parasitology in the Philippines contains updated global, regional, and national status of parasitic diseases, with particular focus on the Philippines.
It also includes new sections on recent developments in the field and other topics relevant to the country such as neglected tropical diseases, preventive chemotherapy, emporiatrics, and laboratory biosafety.
The book is intended for students of medicine, public health, medical technology, and nursing, as well as postgraduate students of public health, residents and fellows. It may also be used as a training material of the Department of Health.
According to Belizario, the third edition also utilizes the life cycles developed by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.Similar to the other earlier editions, Bench Aids developed by World Health Organization are included for reference purposes. For the first time, relevant policies and guidelines from the Department of Health are listed for the guidance of the readers.
“The overwhelming response to the first two editions of the book affirms the value and significance of the material in complementing meager publications on medical parasites with special focus on the local setting. I am confident that his latest edition of the book will serve as an accurate and valuable reference material in the continuing war against parasites,” UP Manila Chancellor Manuel Agulto said. The UP Press provided the technical expertise and know-how to produce an excellent learning resource.
“With the launching of this book, may there be hope that parasitic infections in this beloved country would be better understood, diagnosed, treated, controlled and prevented for a healthier and more productive populace,” Belizario ended.