The Department of Health (DOH) – MIMAROPA (Oriental/Occidental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan) today completed the three-day “Training on Identification Management and Referral of Patients with Heavy Metal Poisoning (HMP) for Medical Doctors and Public Health Nurses” particularly from the provinces of Marinduque and Palawan held at the Sulo Riviera Hotel, Quezon City from July 25-27, 2017.
“Because of the effects of mine tailings brought about by the 1996 Marcopper incident in Marinduque, the health and well-being of residents have been greatly affected especially those residing near the mining area and we have to know how serious their condition is, if they really are contaminated or not,” Regional Director Eduardo C. Janairo stated during the opening program.
“They have been neglected for three decades now and yet we still don’t know who are the affected individuals that are needing immediate treatment. That is why we have initiated this training so that we can properly identify and monitor these individuals and establish a surveillance and referral system that will provide them the health care that they need,” he explained.
The training on the identification management of patient with heavy metal poisoning conducted by the regional office in collaboration with the toxicology Department of East Avenue Medical Center was attended by 24 health workers, including medical doctors, health nurses of Marinduque and Puerto Princesa City and two engineers of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Mines and Geosciences Bureau (DENR-MGB).
Janairo added that a second part of the training will include a practicum on the treatment and management of HMP cases in Marinduque.
Heavy metal poisoning is caused by the accumulation of certain metals in the body due to exposure through food, water, industrial chemicals, or other sources. Toxic amounts of zinc, copper, chromium, iron, and manganese are harmful to the body.
Among the symptoms of HMP includes confusion, numbness, nausea, vomiting and even coma. Long term exposure to may cause headache, weakness, tiredness, muscle and joint pain and constipation.
Marinduque and Palawan are among the provinces of MIMAROPA where Marcopper and mercury mine tailings can be found.
“It is time that we provide solution to this health concern not only in Marinduque and Palawan but in all areas of the country where mining activities exists so that we can prevent HMP contamination and protect the health of our countrymen,” Janairo concluded.