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Solon: Soldiers need derma, too

by Izel Abanilla

A lawmaker called out to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) if they could expand their efforts in supporting the overall wellness of the military by adding dermatology experts into missions to provide skin-related care most especially during combat. 

During the hearing at the Commission on Appointments (CA), Camiguin Rep. Jurdin Jesus Romualdo thought of the importance of the dermatologists on board as he recalled an encounter with a member of the Philippine Army who had a problem with Athlete’s foot. 

“Merong [ophthalmologist], merong [orthologist], merong surgeon pero gusto ko lang malaman if you have a program on derma and skin diseases in the Armed Forces kasi ngayon ho problema po ‘yon e,” Romualdo asked. 

“Because before, there was an Army [man] taga-Camiguin, kinuha ko. Kawawa talaga kasi pinagaling ko ‘yung paa niya ang daming athlete’s foot kasi Scout Ranger e,” he added.

Romualdo noticed the lack of physicians specializing in treatment of skin diseases as ophthalmologists and orthopedic surgeons make up most of the military doctors. He also said that the uniformed personnel will have difficulty fulfilling their duties if skin conditions would set in especially while they are on mission. 

“It’s a serious concern because if you have athlete’s foot or psoriasis, it will be difficult for you to [train],” he said. 

“I just want to know if you have a program on dermatology and in treating skin diseases in the Armed Force. I also found out that in the US, even if [their soldiers] have the best [military] gears, they still suffer from skin diseases,” they said. 

Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri welcomed the suggestion and agreed that the AFP should look into the matter. 

“That’s a good question,” he said. “It’s a serious concern.”

Brig. Gen. Fatima Claire Navarro, AFP surgeon general said the military only employed two dermatologists who are now retired from service. 

“We actually already added in our proposal to the scorecard of the AFP chief of staff a special aspect on force health protection,” Navarro said. 

Navarro also added that apart from assistance for lifestyle and mission-related illnesses, the AFP too is also focused on providing mental health services for its troops. 

“These are the things that we want to enhance better in the next few years,” she said. “We are facilitating aid through our modernization program. [Soldiers] should also [get] health service support to sustain them in their operations,” Navarro said. 

Prior to this, Romualdo asked the Department of Science and Technology if piercing volcanoes could be possible to avert eruptions. 



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