DOH appeals to the public: Don’t stigmatize the nurse with MERS-CoV

By on February 17, 2015


Department of Health (DOH) spokesperson Dr. Lyndon Lee Suy (center) confirms that a Filipina nurse who returned from Saudi Arabia on Feb. 1 tested positive with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome-Corona Virus (MERSCoV) during a press conference on Wednesday (Feb. 11, 2015). He said the nurse is under observation at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Alabang, Muntinlupa City and contact-tracing of her co-passengers in the plane is being done to ensure that local transmission of the disease can be prevented. At left is DOH Undersecretary Nemesio T. Gako. (PNA photo by Leilani S. Junio)
Department of Health (DOH) spokesperson Dr. Lyndon Lee Suy (center) confirms that a Filipina nurse who returned from Saudi Arabia on Feb. 1 tested positive with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome-Corona Virus (MERSCoV) during a press conference on Wednesday (Feb. 11, 2015). He said the nurse is under observation at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Alabang, Muntinlupa City and contact-tracing of her co-passengers in the plane is being done to ensure that local transmission of the disease can be prevented. At left is DOH Undersecretary Nemesio T. Gako. (PNA photo by Leilani S. Junio)

MANILA — The Department of Health (DOH) has appealed to the public not to stigmatize the pregnant Filipina nurse who was found positive with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome-Corona Virus (MERS-CoV) upon her return from Saudi Arabia earlier this month.

“Instead, it will be a good move to include her in our prayers for a speedy recovery,” DOH spokesperson Dr. Lyndon Lee-Suy said on Monday.

According to Lee-Suy, the nurse, who is now recuperating at the DOH’s Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Alabang, Muntinlupa City, deserves utmost respect and understanding.

“She or anybody that can possibly develop MERS-CoV or any other emerging infectious disease does not deserve to be stigmatized, for he or she has not asked for the disease,” he said.

He explained that the hospital where the nurse used to work in Saudi Arabia turned out to have a MERS-CoV patient recently.

“Her plight has opened our eyes to initiate moves on further protecting our health workers abroad,” Dr. Lee-Suy said.

He added that right now, the pregnant woman is under stable condition and it will help a lot if the she will not be emotionally bothered by stigma and fear.

He also said that instead of stigmatizing the patient, the public must ensure that they are doing good hygienic practices like frequent hand-washing, having adequate sleep and maintaining nutritious or healthy diet.

“These are all vital in preventing the spread of infectious diseases like MERS-CoV,” the health official said.

The explained that awareness and early detection are also vital in the prevention and control of any emerging infectious disease.