The Department of Health (DOH) has put all government hospitals along the route of the Black Nazarene procession in Manila on Monday under Code White.
Code White means hospital staff, such as general and orthopedic surgeons, anesthesiologists, internists, operating room nurses, ophthalmologists and otorhinolaryngologists are ready to respond to any emergency situation. It also means that nursing and administrative personnel residing at the hospital dormitory shall be on call. Code White is raised in anticipation of public health emergencies that may result during large gatherings of people.
Every year, millions of Black Nazarene devotees join the 'Traslacion' to seek healing and blessings or fulfill a 'panata' or vow after their wishes were granted to them. During the procession, which starts at the Quirino Grandstand and winds its way back to Quiapo Church, the devotees �- who walk barefoot -- jostle one another to touch the image of the Black Nazarene for blessings.
Anticipating injuries in such a huge gathering, the DOH and its partner organizations, such as the Philippine Red Cross, coordinate their efforts to provide medical assistance.
Health department spokesperson, Dr. Eric Tayag, said eight medical teams will be spread out in strategic areas and will be supported by medical teams of the PRC to ensure faster response.
Tayag noted that last year, the medical teams attended to almost a thousand devotees, half of whom suffered injuries during the procession. Some of them were pushed or squeezed while others stepped on pointed objects.
Last year, he said, two deaths were recorded -- one from a heart attack and the other from a liver disease.
He said he understands that faith drives these devotees -- especially those who are ill -- to join the procession to seek healing. He however advised parents against bringing small children with them and pregnant women and senior citizens who are suffering from severe ailments to skip the procession and just visit the Black Nazarene some other time.
However, if senior citizens or those with disabilities insist on joining the 'Traslacion', he advised them to at least bring a companion and their medication.
Tayag also advised the devotees to bring water to prevent dehydration and not to postpone the call of nature. They should know beforehand the locations of comfort rooms, he said. (
Source: Philippines News Agency