1,977 persons have HIV in CL
    12 of 100 kids face blindness, mental retardation

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    CLARK FREEPORT — A total of 1,977 persons have been diagnosed with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) in Central Luzon since 1984, amid a study indicating that one person per hour is being found positive for the ailment in the first quarter of this year in the country.

    The study also noted that an average of 12 in every 100 children have iodine deficiency disorders leading to blindness, mental retardation and even death., while four of every 100 children below six years old are underweight.

    These were revealed in a report of the regional office of the Department of Health (DOH) which launched here yesterday its “high impact universal health care program zeroing in on HIV and Acquired Immuno-Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) prevention and control, newborn screening, expanded program for immunization, family planning, maternal and child health, and nutrition.

    The DOH report said most of the HIV cases involved males having sex with males, people in prostitution, and people who inject drugs.

    The report also noted 49 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in Central Luzon. “These deaths are due to preventable causes like eclampsia and obstetric haemorrhage,” the report said.

    It also noted that about 1,500 children under five years of age die due to under nutrition, vaccine-preventable diseases, infections and injuries. The DOH noted that n“teenage pregnancies continue to rise which is a risk factor of maternal and infant mortality,” adding that “unwanted pregnancies may lead to induced abortion.”

    The report also cited that in Central Luzon, 40 out of 100 children aged from six months to five years have Vitamin A deficiency, while an average of 37 out of 100 pregnant and lactating mothers have iron deficiency anemia.

    To curb these health problems, the DOH in Central Luzon said it has been providing “technical assistance and capacity- building activities for local government units and other partners, and logistics augmentation for sexually transmitted infection facilities.

    The regional office has also intensified the implementation of national laws on health, such as those that require iodine in the manufacture of salt, as well as infusing more investments to implement nutrition plans.

    The DOH is also boosting more access of couples to reproductive health services to reduce maternal and infant deaths.

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