The Ministry of Health issues guidelines to protect citizens from diseases caused by the winter wave

Stock image. Bogotá during the rainy season last March 3, 2020. Photo: Colprensa – Camila Diaz

The second rainy season in Colombia is not stopping and it looks like it will continue to register a constant and high rate of precipitation until at least November. According to the Institute of Hydrology, Meteorology and Environmental Studies (Ideam), the La Niña phenomenon will continue until November and may worsen in October as the hurricane season is expected.

In this scenario, on September 25, the Ministry of Health (MinSalud) issued External Circular 038 of 2022. The document titled “Guidance for preparedness and response of the sector facing possible health consequences, including covid-19, during the current rainy season”, contains a number of recommendations to avoid health problems caused by the weather.

“We send to the territorial units External Circular 038 of 2022. We invite citizens and authorities to strengthen preventive measures due to the social, environmental and economic impacts that may be presented by the coincidence of these phenomena,” the government portfolio indicated.

It was pointed out that the document establishes that, as a starting point, territorial units must acknowledge, under risk management policy, possible adverse health effects. They should also consider timely and effective remediation and preparation of contingency plans for the health sector.

The Ministry of Health indicated that the diseases to which more attention should be paid are:

-Increase in ARI acute respiratory infections (including the possibility of infection with covid-19). Increase in communicable diseases.

-Increase in water- and food-borne diseases (acute diarrhea (ADD), hepatitis A, typhoid and paratyphoid and cholera) due to damage to drinking water systems.

-Risk to food and nutrition security.

According to public sector experts, care is for everyone, but authorities need to be on the alert for an outbreak of any of these diseases in order to act in time.

“It is emphasized once again that it is the duty of each of the participants in the General Social Insurance System in health care to take, within their competences, immediate actions aimed at coordinating health actions with the departmental, regional or municipal councils. for disaster risk management, in accordance with the guidelines established in Joint Circular 040 of 2014 issued by the Ministry of Health and Social Protection and the UNGRD,” the ministry said.

It should be noted that the call of the Ministry of Health is to “has resources to strengthen health sector back-up centers”. In addition, the processes for disclosure of the biosafety protocols issued by the government portfolio to avoid contagion with covid-19 and development of the prevention strategies envisaged in them must be effectively implemented.

To comply with all these orders, it is necessary to have good teams in health care, for which the Ministry ordered the “have adequate, sufficient and continuous human talent at the municipal, regional, departmental and national level to deal with the possible negative effects on the population”.

According to the portfolio, if the recommendations outlined are followed, the impact on public health will be mitigated. Likewise, it will help strengthen cross-sectoral and cross-sectoral coordination networks with departmental, district and municipal health directorates, leading to more efficient processes.

“This circular from the Ministry of Health is a call to achieve effective risk communication with citizens; Management of a healthy environment, temporary accommodation, healthy nutrition, food, drink and drinking water for human consumption; strengthening actions related to the Expanded Program on Immunizations (EPI); in addition to intersectoral and intrasectoral surveillance in public health’said the Government portfolio.

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