PH urged to boost expertise on disease prevention, control

SENATOR Grace Poe on Tuesday said the country should invest in building expertise in disease prevention and control.

"We need to catalyze support for a proactive and efficient health system with increased capacities to prevent and control the spread of new or recurring infectious diseases," Poe said.

COVID-19 has so far infected three million people across the globe, killing over 209,000.

Not only health, but all sectors are left with no choice but to adapt to the new norm, implementing the necessary adjustments for survival. 

"We need to restrategize, restructure and reinvent our systems if we are to stay afloat and cope with the scourge and disruption brought about by COVID-19, including the threat of new diseases," the senator said. 

In support of a holistic approach to manage public health risks, Poe has filed Senate Bill No. 1450 or the "Pandemic Preparedness and Response Act" that seeks to establish a Center for Disease Control (CDC) to strategize and lead in communicable disease control and prevention and fortify the country's preparedness and response to public health crises.

"As the adage aptly puts it, 'An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure,' and of course, much better than having to contend with huge socio-economic losses," Poe said.

Under the bill, the CDC shall spearhead the formulation of a national strategy to anticipate and address public health emergencies and provide proper direction on such health threats.

The center is also envisioned to provide consultation and assistance to other nations and international agencies to collaborate and partner in improving the effectiveness of disease prevention and control mechanisms.

"We need to strengthen our preparedness and become far more equipped in the face of continuing health risks. We all have a stake in this," Poe said.

Poe's bill draws inspiration from the measure filed in 2013 by the late Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, who fought courageously against the cancer disease that has also claimed the lives of many in the country.