Seminar topics for departing OFWs now include Zika virus
The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) has included the Zika virus as among the subjects tackled during the pre-departure orientation seminar (PDOS) given to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
"Yes, Admin Cacdac told me it is already included in the PDOS of our OFWs set to be deployed," said Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz, referring to POEA administrator Hans Leo Cacdac.
PDOS is a mandatory seminar for departing OFWs aimed at providing country-specific information such as travel regulations, immigration procedures, cultural differences, settlement concerns, employment and social security concerns, and rights and obligations of Filipino migrants.
The mosquito-borne Zika virus, which was first identified in Uganda in 1947, causes relatively mild flu-like symptoms and a rash. The World Health Organization (WHO) said it "strongly suspected" the Zika virus of being responsible for a rapid rise in cases of microcephaly, a condition in which a baby is born with an abnormally small head and brain.
Latin American countries, particularly Brazil, have reported a leap in cases of microcephaly since the Zika outbreak was declared in the region last year.
Baldoz said including the subject in the PDOS is the best the department could do at present since they have yet to impose a deployment ban to countries hit by Zika virus.
"We are still waiting for the raising of Alert Level from the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA)," she said.
WHO has already declared the Zika virus as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern over its suspected link to microcephaly. —KBK, GMA News