Most DOH Hospitals Fully Compliant with Total Mercury Phase-Out
According to the Department of Health (DOH), 16 out of the 20 DOH-retained hospitals in Metro Manila have fully complied with the directive on phasing out the use of all apparatuses or devices in the healthcare system that contain mercury.
The phase-out is in connection with the Administrative Order No. 2008-0021 which mandates the gradual phase-out of mercury in all Philippine health care facilities and institutions.
The move to stop the use of all medical devices containing mercury was jumpstarted in 1991, when the World Health Organization (WHO) concluded that a safe level for mercury that would not have any adverse effects on a person’s health has never been established.
The following are the list of DOH-hospitals in Metro Manila which are fully-compliant:
- San Lorenzo Ruiz Women’s Hospital
- Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital
- Philippine Orthopedic Center
- Valenzuela Medical Center
- National Center for Mental Health
- East Avenue Medical Center
- San Lazaro Hospital
- Research Institute for Tropical Medicine
- Dr. Jose R. Reyes Memorial Medical Center
- Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital
- Las Pinas General Hospital and Satellite Trauma Center
- Rizal Medical Center
- Quirino Memorial Medical Center
- Tondo Medical Center
- Lung Center of the Philippines a
- Philippine Children’s Medical Center
In a report to Health Secretary Esperanza Cabral last 24 February 2010, there were only four remaining DOH-retained hospitals in Metro Manila that have not yet fully complied with the phase-out.
These four hospitals are the National Children’s Hospital, Amang Rodriguez Medical Center, Philippine Heart Center and National Kidney and Transplant Institute.
The National Children’s Hospital is still using mercurial sphygmomanometers while awaiting delivery of digital sphygmomanometers, while the Heart Center has fully phased out mercurial thermometers, but still has functioning mercurial blood pressure devices that are waiting to be replaced.
The National Kidney and Transplant Institute is still using 11 mercurial sphygmomanometers but these are only used as back up in their hemodialysis units and are awaiting replacements. The Amang Rodriguez Medical Center retrieved nine mercurial blood pressure apparatuses from the condemned equipment damaged by Typhoon Ondoy but these too are due to be replaced soon.
Meanwhile, four compliant hospitals were recognized by the group Health Care Without Harm-Southeast Asia. These are the San Lazaro Hospital, Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, Las Pinas General Hospital and Satellite Trauma Center, and the Philippine Children’s Medical Center.
According to the Health Chief, mercury must be phased out because of its potentially harmful effects to a person’s health. Mercury can damage the nervous, digestive, respiratory, endocrine and immune systems. It can also cause tremors, impaired vision and hearing, paralysis, insomnia, emotional instability, developmental effects on a fetus, and attention deficit and developmental delays during childhood.
“With all the hazards posed by mercury, it is high time that we complete the implementation of its total phase-out in all hospitals and health facilities”, Cabral concluded.