Doctors push for mercury ban in health care

Vote for a presidentiable promised if…

Tagaytay City — A group of medical doctors and envi-health group Health Care Without Harm-Southeast Asia today push for the banning of mercury in health care and promise a vote for the presidentiable who can make this happen.

In the medical ecology forum dubbed G.L.E.E. (Towards a Green Lush Eco-Friendly Environment), Philippine College of Physicians-Southern Luzon chapter signed the Green Health Covenant pledging to enjoin their candidates to be supportive of a mercury-free Philippines and other green health care agenda.

The group, an umbrella organization of internists in the Philippines, likewise signed a Memorandum of Cooperation outlining the steps towards the movement to a 100% mercury-free health care.

Although issues are being raised on the implementation of the recent ban on mercury-laced products, both HCWH-SEA and PCP-SL are positive that a ban on mercury products combined with a leader who is strict in the implementation of the law and who believes in the wisdom of greening the system are the necessary factors of a green health care.

According to Merci Ferrer, Executive Director of HCWH-SEA, pushing for a mercury ban is just the first of the many programs that the two groups will do towards GLEE or a green lush eco-friendly environment. “In the forum, we have discussed proper health care waste management. Although this issue is often ignored when we talk of the bigger waste management issue, we have to take into consideration the number of infectious wastes that hospitals produce. If not properly treated, it may add to the myriad of public health issues that the health sector is already facing.”

Another issue raised in the forum is on climate change. “Being an energy intensive sector, health care can contribute much in making the health care sector more responsive to climate change,” said Ferrer. “Simple adjustments such as putting more plants within the hospital premises, turning off the lights when not in use… will go a long way in making the health care sector more climate-friendly.”

Two months before the election and the presidentiables may still get the health care sector’s vote. But on top of the other qualifications already presented by many groups, the health sector’s call remains: who is most supportive of green health care?