The problem with being reactionary is that there is always an undue alarm that it creates.
Last week, the Department of Health reported the emergence of poliovirus, years after the country reported that it was able to eradicate the illness in 2001.
Local authorities also confirmed the presence of the virus in the sample taken by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine last month from the Davao River. The news also resulted in the call of the authorities to avoid swimming in rivers and other bodies of water in the city because of the report.
For its part, the Davao City Water District also released a statement saying that the potable water it provides to its customers is safe to drink as it sources its supply “from under the ground and is geographically situated far from where the water sample was taken.”
It added that it “has strict water quality measures in place to assure the safety of the customers. The water utility also makes sure that the water it provides meets the Philippine National Standards for Drinking Water, the benchmark for water safety in the country.”
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III also called on parents to have their children undergo vaccination as this is just the only way to protect the children from the disease.
Of course, it is always better for authorities to issue warnings and even raise consciousness especially if the issue at hand is health.
But since this is in a reactionary stage, meaning the issue has gotten into public consciousness, there must be a comprehensive campaign, especially on the part of concerned government agencies in ensuring that the people are not fed with half-truths to ensure not only to take away the fear but also slowly allow them to know what roles they need to play for them to contribute in stopping its spread.
Now that the issue is at hand, government authorities must walk an extra mile in ensuring that the people know the real score as well as get informed on how they can participate in facing the challenge, rather than raising the alarm which always results in more problems than solving a just one.
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