MANILA — The Department of Health (DOH) reported that the 351 fireworks-related injuries (FWRI) recorded since Dec. 21 until 6 a.m. Thursday were lower compared to the same period in 2013 and the five-year average from 2009 to 2013.
“There is a reduction of 39 percent in comparison to last year. It is also 31 percent lower than the previous five year annual average of 511 injuries per year for that period,” DOH Acting Secretary Janette Loreto-Garin said in a press briefing Thursday at the East Avenue Medical Center (EAMC) in Quezon City.
According to Garin, there were 578 cases of FWRI recorded during the same period in 2013.
Of the 351 FWRI, she said 346 or 98.5 percent were due to fireworks explosion, two or 0.6 percent from firework ingestion and three or 0.9 percent from stray bullet.
Garin said that the drop can be attributed to the fact that more people are now listening to the call of their conscience against using firecrackers and the massive anti-firecrackers campaign of the government in collaboration with the media and local government units (LGUs).
She said that the DOH is encouraged with seeing more Filipinos heeding the call of its campaign against firecrackers. “Mas maraming Pilipino ang nakonsensya ngayon, at sila ay nagdesisyon pabor sa kanilang kaligtasan,”
Garin added that the bad news was that 14 of those injured from firecrackers were with amputations or 75 percent increase compared to eight last year.
The health acting chief said that this can be attributed to two majors factors, one factor is the shift of age of users from adults to children.
“Since the hands of children are too small in handling firecracker, they are prone to damage in explosion.”
Another factor, she added is the widespread selling of affordable firecrackers (piccolo) wherein some children even share them, therefore lead to increased number of hands amputated.
In the case of eye injuries due to firecrackers, Garin said that from 72 last year, it went down to 59 or 18 percent lower.
“This can be attributed with the gaining of awareness wherein parents the victims come forward to seek treatment, leading to proper cleansing of the affected eye area, examination to prevent further complications,” she added.
From the total number of fireworks injuries, “piccolo” is still the undisputed the “topnotcher” cause of injuries with 166 or 49 percent, followed by Kwitis with 35 cases or 10 percent, Luces 21 or 6 percent and Five Star with 12 or 3 percent.
Garin also said most of the reported injuries came from the National Capital Region with 168 or 48 percent, Manila with 31 percent, Pasig 14 percent, Quezon City 13 percent, Navotas 7 percent and Caloocan also 7 percent.
A total FWRI, 91 were children less than 10 years old or 26 percent.
The DOH acting chief also said of the total FWRI this year, 234 got injured because they handled the firecrackers themselves while 112 were bystanders or “nahagisan lang.”
Garin also reported that there was a drop on stray bullets cases from 11 recorded last year to just only three cases now.
“The good news is that stray bullets cases dropped to 73 percent and we thank Philippine National Police (PNP) and Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) for massive campaign,” she added.
Acting Secretary Garin further said that the count on the total number of injuries is not yet final and may still change until January 5 as other reports from the 50 sentinel hospitals (both public and private hospitals were most number of FWRI patients usually seek treatment) are still collected and verified.“Final report will be released by January 6.”
As the health campaigns shifts to prevention of tetanus among the injured, Garin reminded those injured to get their anti-tetanus shots in hospitals right away.