Seafaring in the Philippines: Acquiring Health Certificate for Stewards and Food Handlers
Learning the Ropes and Ends at the Bureau of Quarantine
Aside from providing vaccine and vaccination for yellow fever to all seafarers and food handlers, in domestic flights and inter-island vessels or even international routes, health certificates for stewards and food handlers are being given to them for quite some time.
As this sailor strolled at the lobby of the Bureau of Quarantine this year (from February 21 to 23, 2012), one of the employees I asked ushered me to the other office of the BoQ for the much-required health certificate.
She asked me if I already have medical certificate; I replied, I haven't yet. So, she offered me the service of the quarantine's office for the medical examination, from samples of my blood, blood pressure, urine and stool. Lung X-ray exam was also included.
How to get the health certificate prompted me to accomplish, first the following:
- Get an endorsement letter from the shipping company where you are presently connected. The crewing staff will provide you of an original letter with the letterhead of the company for authenticity.
- Medical examination will be provided by any DOH-accredited out-patient clinic. As for the BoQ, a Php600.00 peso-payment (around $15.00+) will be required for the clinical tests they're going to conduct on your submitted samples. It will take three days to get the results.
- Then, a seminar with payment of Php 200.00 pesos ($5.00+) on Basic Food Safety for Stewards and Food Handlers will be conducted for one day. They've been scheduling it for first come, first served basis until a total number of 50 participants will be able to attend the meeting.
- Medical results will be required in getting the health certificate a steward (seaman) and food handler is aiming to have in order to go on-board ship or in-flight service of airplanes.
At the Conference Room of Bureau of Quarantine, Pier 15-Gate 1, South Harbor, ManilaClick thumbnail to view full-size
Emphasis on Basic Food Safety
When the conference transpired, cleanliness and sanitation are the two important topics that were discussed by resident speakers.
Food Borne Illnesses were given emphasis. How to avoid it, it's a must for stewards and food handlers to follow the right procedures when observing proper hygiene, especially washing hands, handling food ingredients and cooking.
Evading food-related diseases, such as diarrhea, red tide (shellfish) and food poisoning can be relied to responsible seafarers and food handlers.
In the USA, Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) was first implemented way back 1960s and still credible as of this writing, especially to small food processors or manufactures.
Here in the Philippines, the Code on Sanitation for Food Establishments can be read and downloaded on the official site of the Department of Health. This is very important to small food businesses who are exposed to critical surroundings and contaminants that can poison their merchandise once eaten by customers.
Bureau of Quarantine, Pier South, Manila Philippines
A jeepney ride is best suited when you want to reach Bureau of Quarantine, Pier South 15 at the Gate 1.A minimal fare of 8 pesos is required.
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