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DOH cautions against taking herbal medications

MANILA --The Department of Health (DOH) warned Wednesday of the ill effects of taking herbal medications which are just seen or heard on advertisements.

According to DOH Secretary Janette L. Garin, some of the herbal supplements residues might be deposited in the kidney and cause inflammation which could later lead to renal failure.

Garin, in a press briefing held at DOH media relations unit in Tayuman, Sta. Cruz, Manila, said that the inflammation might eventually damage the kidney or create “schemia,” a condition where blood supply is restricted in the tissues, causing a shortage of oxygen and glucose needed for cellular metabolism.

“Ang kidney kasi, yan ang sumasala—act as filter --iyung naglilinis dun sa katawan ng tao ang mangyayari kapag may naiwan na maliliit na bara, ang tawag ay “schemia” or nawawalan oxygen at namamatay (ang pasyente),” the Health Chief explained.

Meanwhile, in the same press briefing, Dr. Susan Jorge, head of the Philippine Disease Prevention and Control Program, said that aside from herbal medication , one of the thing that people should also be careful about was the taking of medicines for rheumatism.

“Hindi lang siya sa herbal medications, but it is very common among our elderlies ang pagtake nila ng gamot kontra sa mga rayuma nila. So these medications are called the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. They too cause inflammation kasi nagcacause sila ng pagbaba ng oxygen level doon sa kidney, (schemia),” said Dr. Jorge.

The DOH and NKTI celebrate the month of June as the National Kidney Month by virtue of Proclamation No. 184 s. 1993.

This year, the theme is entitled "Malusog na Bato, Yaman at Buhay Ko".

The month-long campaign stresses on the importance of kidney care in order to prevent renal diseases which may lead to kidney failure.

"The incidence of renal diseases has steadily gone up in the Philippines. Around 14,000 Filipinos die of renal diseases yearly.

Renal diseases, which affect all age groups, are now the 9th leading cause of death in the country.

In 2014, 15,983 Filipinos were registered on dialysis and 470 Filipinos had kidney transplant in 2015." Health Secretary Janette P. Loreto-Garin explained.

In August 2015, DOH directed PhilHealth to adjust its hemodialysis package from 45 to 90 sessions per year to increase the maximum coverage per patient. In the past, many patients would stop the treatment after the 45th session because they could not further afford the succeeding dialysis sessions.

The expansion of 90 dialysis sessions was determinedly pursued by DOH with a strong belief that patients do not have to die because they cannot have the quality healthcare they need.

In 2015, a total of 326 dialysis clinics were licensed to operate all over the country and be able to optimize the advantages of the expanded PhilHealth coverage. DOH was able to request additional funds for the provision of at least 1 dialysis center per province. A complete dialysis equipment package will be provided to qualified DOH and LGU hospitals.

The health chief added that DOH collaborated with Philippine Society of Nephrologists (PSN) in providing management teams and making sure that operation of dialysis centers is sustainable and PhilHealth packages are maximally utilized.

DOH likewise partnered with PSN and NKTI through the Renal Disease Prevention and Control Program (ReDCOP) for the advocacy campaigns on renal disease prevention.(PNA)

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