Saturday, November 23, 2013

Hearing Loss Among Kids: Sounding Off on Acute Otitis Media

As a mom, nothing is more fulfilling than to see my child always in good health condition. The best I can, just like any other mom or parent, to do my best and keep him safe always.

Every parent wants their child to excel in school. However, there are some children who have difficulty in learning, and this may be due to several underlying factors. For instance, a child may be labeled as inattentive or a slow learner, but can actually be suffering from hearing problems caused by inflammation of the middle ear from Acute Otitis Media (AOM).

This condition is commonly referred to as “luga” in the Philippines, and is often simply thought to be an effect of improper ear cleaning. The real cause for the condition is the build up of pus in the ear from allergies or an upper respiratory infection. AOM can lead to hearing loss and to a more devastating consequences like speech difficulties and learning disabilities.

Many Filipino children may be suffering from undiagnosed hearing loss, as Otitis Media is ranked as the 8th leading childhood ailment in the country. It has been found that 3 out of 4 children will have had at least one episode of AOM before they reach their third birthday.

Given this, on November 8, 1991, the late president Corazon Aquino signed Proclamation No. 829 declaring the second week of November of every year as Deaf Awareness Week (DAW), recognizing the need to focus on public awareness on hearing impairment, its prevention and rehabilitation. The celebration of Deaf Awareness Week centers on the vision of transforming the hearing impaired community as an immutable force in the society.

This year, Better Hearing Philippines, St. Luke’s Medical Center, QC, UST McAudio Department in partnership with GlaxoSmithKline held a Medical Mission in Brgy. Dona Imelda, Quezon City last November 20, 2013 which was filled with activities participated by both hearing and hearing disabled individuals, parents, educators and service providers, all collaborating to empower the deaf community and raise awareness on hearing impairment.

Part of the advocacy in promoting preventive and treatment measures means addressing the problem of ear and hearing. At the event, Dr. Gretchen Navarro-Locsin, a Pediatric Otorhinalaryngologist said, “Protecting children through breastfeeding, adequate nutrition, frequent hand washing, avoidance of tobacco smoke and vaccination can go a long way towards ensuring that your child hears the world through clean ears.

Likewise a media event was recently held to help create more awareness regarding this health condition. The event was highlighted by a ceremonial balloon releasing with each and everyone's pledge, just like what I did.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


Great news to all the foodies from the South! The MercatoCentrale group, organizer of the Manila’s most popular night food markets, is bringing back the MercatoCentrale experience to the South! Join us at EL SUR – the NEWEST MercatoCentrale market that will be open in Alabang Town Center (beside Fully Booked) every Friday & Saturday from 12nn to 12mn startingNovember 23 (Saturday!

“After a short break from the South, we are excited to be back in the area!“ enthused Anton Diaz, co-founder of the MercatoCentrale group and the blogger behind the popular food and travel blog in the Philippines “Thanks to all the support from our Southern-based foodie fans who have been clamoring for our return.”

“We look forward to bringing the MercatoCentrale foodie experience to Alabang Town Center, which includes a variety of great-tasting and innovative food choices straight from the homes of the South-based chefs and homemakers, acoustic entertainment and a lively atmosphere“ said RJ Ledesma, co-founder of the MercatoCentrale group. “We will also have the best-selling vendors from our various Mercato markets sharing their famous dishes in EL SUR!”

“We also want to find the next big food entrepreneur from the South!” added Anton. “The Mercato markets have been the birthplace of many expanding Manila food businesses like Manang’s Chicken, Merry Moo Premium Ice Cream, Spring by Ha-Yuan, Kristina’s Inutak, Chuck’s Grubberie Fish and Chips and many more. We are happy to note that one of our pioneer Mercato vendors, Mochiko Ice Cream, already has a branch here in Alabang Town Center!”

For interested food vendors who want to join EL SUR, please contact (+63 917) 840-1152or (+632) 812-0102, email or visit Limited slots available.

MercatoCentrale group is the organizer of Midnight Mercato in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, CucinaAndare (the first food truck market in the country) in Glorietta Park, Makati, Mezza Norte in Ayala’s Trinoma Mall, Quezon City, CocinaCentrale in Ayala’s MarQuee Mall, Pampanga and Porto Cena in Ayala’s Harbor Point Mall, Subic.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Philippine Health Experts and DOH Give High-Five to Filipino Children

Yesterday marked the celebration of the 5th Annual World Pneumonia Day.  The event coincide with the 14th Philippine National Immunization Conference which was held at Summit Ridge Hotel in Tagaytay City, Philippines.

The program was spearheaded by no less than the Philippines’ dancing secretary Dr. Eric Tayag together with some gorgeous local dance icons, the Maneuvers, for a dance exercise.

A ceremonial vaccination campaign was also conducted.  Five mothers from Tagaytay City together with their infants were invited to participate.

There was also a huge symbolic cake that was presented to make the occasion more festive and party-like.

Pneumonia is currently the leading cause of children’s death worldwide especially those under the age of five, the reason why they never get the chance to celebrate their 5th birthday. In 2012 alone, it has claimed the lives of 1.1 million children which is more than the deaths caused by AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined.

The Philippines being a developing country is among those that are highly at-risk from pneumonia occurrence.  Even this health condition is highly preventable,  still it has become a major death-cause among children primarily due to limited access to health care facilities and treatment as well as parent’s or the mother’s lack of education and understanding about it.

The good news is, as a response to call for action to prevent pneumonia deaths, the Philippines’ Department of Health (DOH) has made available the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) in most local health centers. The program will soon become of universal coverage, that is, it will be mandatory available and part of the Philippine Epidemiology Program. Other than medical interventions, there will be continuous support for health care workers to help them encourage mothers to breastfeed, practice good sanitation and learn more about nutritional practices.

It used to be that PCV is really very expensive. Some years back, I had my little boy given this vaccine as recommended by out pediatrician he has weak lungs having experienced bronchitis episode and was already hospitalized when he was just 10 months old. The vaccine costs me several thousands of pesos but I think I had no choice because I am after the well-being of my son.

But for some who lack the means, this vaccine is one of those that was often neglected. Only after something terrible happened that they will realized its importance. Although it is not a hundred percent guarantee that the vaccine will prevent a child to be disease stricken, at least it will provide a good protection. Being a mother myself I am personally glad it is now available for free. I share the vision of the Philippine government that soon, no child will ever die of pneumonia; that more children will get to celebrate their 5th birthday and beyond.