THE City Government of Davao, through Executive Order (EO) No. 70, Series of 2022, has created the Hospital Epidemiology Surveillance Unit (HESU) for LGU hospitals and also encouraged the private hospitals in the city to do the same.

EO 70, signed by Mayor Sebastian “Baste” Duterte on November 18, cited Republic Act No. 11332, also known as the “Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act,” which recognizes the importance of disease surveillance and response systems of the Department of Health and its local counterparts as the first line of defense to epidemics and health events of public health concern that pose risk to public health and security.

RA No. 11332 also mandates the establishment of Epidemiology and Surveillance Units (ESUs) in public health facilities, that’s why the City Government of Davao sees the need to establish HESU in its city-funded hospitals – the Paquibato District Hospital and the Marilog District Hospital.

The HESU is tasked to capture and verify all reported notifiable diseases and health events of public health concern that occur in the hospitals; provide timely, accurate, and reliable epidemiologic information to appropriate persons and agencies especially the Chief of Hospital, the City Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit, the City Health Officer, the City Mayor, DOH Regional Office XI, and DOH Central Office; conduct disease surveillance and epidemiologic response activities including contact tracing; recommend needed response to ensure the continuation of operations of the hospital; report all available essential information (e.g., medical records, clinical description, laboratory results, numbers of human cases and deaths, sources, and type of risk) immediately to the next higher levels; and implement appropriate epidemic control measures immediately.

Disease surveillance coordinators (DSCs), as per EO 70, shall be appointed to head the HESUs in the Paquibato and Marilog district hospitals.

They are mandated to notify case/s of disease/syndrome/event classified as “immediate notification” within 24 hours of detection to the City Health Officer, Department of Health (DOH) regional director, city mayor, and the DOH Central Office of suspect epidemics within 24 hours of detection and perform preliminary investigation; conduct preliminary investigation of suspect epidemics in their respective areas; assist in epidemic investigations conducted by the City Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (CESU), DOH-Davao Center for Health Development-Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Units (DOH-DCHD RESU), and/or the Epidemiology Bureau (EB); record in the Weekly Notifiable Disease Report (WNDR) all cases of notifiable diseases admitted in the hospitals; submit Philippine Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (PIDSR) report forms to the next higher level; prepare and disseminate weekly/monthly disease surveillance reports; and participate in workshops, seminars, training, scientific meetings and other surveillance-related activities.

The DSCs can also recommend to the chief of the hospital the hiring of additional personnel who can help them in their HESU functions.

“The private hospitals are also encouraged to establish a HESU in their institutions. These hospitals should update their organizational structure reflecting their HESU,” the EO 70 states.

The HESU budget for Marilog District and Paquibato District Hospitals’ personnel, training, logistics, and other incidental expenses shall be appropriated from CHO’s Annual Budget/Supplemental Budget to finance the daily operations and fulfill their tasks and functions.

However, full-time HESU personnel from the two district hospitals shall be sourced from CHO’s regular staff. CIO