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‘Bakwit’ death toll reaches 40

By ARGYLL CYRUS B. GEDUCOS

The Department of Health (DoH) said a total of 40 individuals displaced by the ongoing armed conflict in Marawi City have died due to different diseases as of Sunday evening.

Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial, during the Mindanao Hour press briefing Monday morning, said the cause of the deaths of the 40 individuals ranges from acute gastrointestinal infections to heart-related diseases.

“Twenty percent are due to complications of acute gastroenteritis, 15 percent are due to pneumonia, and 12.5 percent due to sepsis,” she said.

According to Ubial, 16,411 patients were admitted or treated in health facilities, both government and private, free of charge. There were also 882 patients referred for treatment from the evacuation centers to hospitals.

“When translated to number of individuals, the overall affected population is about 465,692 persons, close to half a million people,” Ubial said.

The health chief disclosed that temporary shelters were set up in 87 evacuation centers to accommodate 26,991 internally displaced persons (IDPs) colloquially known as ‘Bakwit’, while those living outside evacuation centers or home-based IDPs added up to 97,788 families or 438,701 individuals.

“Part of its services given to the internally displaced includes psychological first aid, psychosocial processing, and coping with stress mechanisms,” said Ubial.

The Health Secretary also said that on Wednesday, the DoH conducted children’s parties in several evacuation centers to enlighten and relieve the burden among the displaced children.

The DoH is now also preparing a rehabilitation and reconstruction plan for Marawi City that will include one health center per barangay, one polyclinic for every 100,000 population, one lying-in facility for every 50,000 population, and one hospital bed for every 800 population.

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