THE Lapu-Lapu City Council has passed an ordinance establishing an Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (ESU) that will be responsible for collecting, analyzing and disseminating reliable and timely information on public health status, as well as investigating disease outbreaks and other threats to public health in the city.

The council approved on third and final reading on Jan. 11, 2023, Ordinance 16-069, or “An Ordinance Establishing the Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (ESU) of Lapu-Lapu City and Directing all Stakeholders to Report All Notifiable Diseases.”

City Councilor Emilio Galaroza Jr. authored by the ordinance, which still needs the approval of Mayor Junard Chan.

The ESU’s duties and responsibilities include developing and maintaining public health surveillance that generates accurate, reliable and timely information for decision-making, among others.

It must also establish a network with sentinel hospitals that have medical staff sufficiently specialized to diagnose, treat and report cases of the disease under surveillance, as well as clinics and other surveillance units.

The Lapu-Lapu City ESU must also support the surveillance activities and programs of the provincial, regional and national ESUs.

As defined by the ordinance, a “notifiable disease” refers to a disease that must be reported to the public health authority in the pertinent jurisdiction where the diagnosis is made.

These diseases may have the potential to cause disruption or damage to humans and to the environment.

The ordinance divides the notifiable diseases into two categories.

Under category 1, or the immediately notifiable disease/syndrome, events and conditions, are the acute flaccid paralysis syndrome, adverse event following immunization syndrome, anthrax, human avian influenza, measles, meningococcal disease, neonatal tetanus, paralytic shellfish poisoning, rabies, severe acute respiratory syndrome, outbreaks, clusters of diseases and unusual diseases or threats.

Category 2, or weekly notifiable diseases/syndrome, are the following: acute bloody diarrhea syndrome, acute encephalitis syndrome, acute hemorrhagic fever syndrome, acute viral hepatitis B17, bacterial meningitis and cholera.

Time frame

When it comes to the time frame for reporting health data, all cases identified as Category 1 must be reported simultaneously to the Lapu-Lapu City ESU, City Health Department/Regional Epidemiology Surveillance Unit and NEC within 24 hours of detection by the fastest means possible, except when the stakeholders are prevented to report within that time frame due to force majeure or acts of God.

All cases identified as Category 2 must be reported every Monday of the week to the same agencies.

But in the event of detection of any of the notifiable diseases, the Lapu-Lapu City ESU is obliged to report immediately to the mayor and the City Council for appropriate actions.

All stakeholders are mandated to report all attended notifiable cases either directly to the ESU or through their respective hospital or barangay disease surveillance coordinators.

These stakeholders include barangay health stations or city health offices, private or government hospitals, lying-in clinics, infirmaries, medical or surgical clinics, health centers, laboratories and all medical and non-medical entities such as medical doctors, nurses, midwives, allied medical professionals and barangay health workers.

With this, the ESU should also establish and maintain an up-to-date database of all stakeholders and disease reporting units for more efficient monitoring to ensure compliance with this ordinance.


The ESU shall be composed of the following: city epidemiology surveillance officer, city disease surveillance coordinator, city epidemiology surveillance assistant officer, health education promotion officer, city epidemiology nurse/s, city epidemiology clerk/disease statistician officer, medical technologist, encoder, disease surveillance coordinator (in every hospital in Lapu-Lapu City), disease surveillance advocates (in every barangay) and disease surveillance coordinator (in every private clinic).

Under the ordinance, the mayor will designate people on the said positions with the concurrence of the majority of all the Local Health Board members.

“The hospitals, private clinics and barangay surveillance coordinators shall be responsible for active case finding and investigation of all reportable cases handled by them and other health information in the hospital and community respectively. They shall be responsible for the accomplishment and submission of surveillance forms to the CESU at the City Health Office,” read a part of the ordinance.

“The assistant officers and coordinators shall assist their respective health officer or coordinator in performing their respective tasks and shall act as the alternate whenever necessary,” it added.

Meanwhile, all health facilities such as hospitals, puericulture infirmaries and birthing facilities shall designate their own health/disease surveillance coordinators and assistant coordinator who shall become members of the Lapu-Lapu City ESU.

All barangay captains, on the other hand, shall designate their own disease surveillance units composed of barangay health/disease surveillance advocates who will also become part of the ESU.

The City Government may hire a dedicated epidemiologist or an epidemiology and surveillance trained personnel for the City Epidemiological Surveillance Officer depending on the availability of funds.