IATF, DOH urged to report expenditure for ‘pop up’ hospitals, isolation facilities

Robie de Guzman   •   April 6, 2021   •   564

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Risa Hontiveros on Tuesday called on the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) and the Department of Health (DOH) to release a public report on the P9 billion fund allocated for makeshift hospitals and isolation facilities.

Hontiveros issued the call following reports of hospitals in Metro Manila becoming overwhelmed amid the surge in COVID-19 cases.

“The P9 billion, if effectively used, is supposed to go to setting up temporary but humane and fully equipped makeshift hospitals. Filipinos shouldn’t have to watch their loved ones die, sometimes under the heat of the sun, just because hospitals are full,” she said in a statement.

Hontiveros said the P9 billion budget under Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan 2) dedicated for Temporary Treatment and Monitoring Facilities (TTMFs) and isolation facilities needs to be flagged as ‘urgent expenditure’ as hospitals are already reaching full capacity for COVID-19 patients.

She also stressed that is imperative for IATF and DOH to quickly reinforce and upgrade their One Hospital Command Center (OHCC), which is a hotline meant to refer patients to hospitals that still have bed capacity, but has been ‘unreachable’ because of the alleged ‘basic set up’ of its system.

“People are running from city to city while experiencing an emergency because the OHCC cannot be reached. The OHCC could have easily harnessed the capabilities of our world-class BPOs. Filipinos answer the phones when the world calls. We don’t deserve these busy signals,” she said.

“With the billions in funding we have available, that is nothing but another lazy copout. Every phone call they do or do not pick up can spell the difference between life and death. We have known for many months that COVID variants, if left uncontained, could overwhelm our hospitals. Why didn’t we prepare for the worst?” she added.

Hontiveros also said that the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) can accredit additional TTMFs to reimburse its operating cost.

“It is important to set up makeshift treatment centers where we can. With added support from the government, it is a system that will be easier to replicate in more areas, especially in areas where hospitals can no longer accommodate more patients,” she said.

“Our health workers and our patients need full support. There is no excuse as to why we are holding back from giving them the best that their lives depend on,” she added.

Metro Manila, and four nearby provinces of Cavite, Bulacan, Rizal, and Laguna have been placed under enhanced community quarantine until April 11 in a bid to stem the spike in COVID-19 cases.

Various hospitals earlier reported that their bed utilization rate for COVID-19 cases has reached a critical level amid the surge in infections.


PH to raise daily vaccination target to 1.5 million doses

Robie de Guzman   •   October 20, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government is eyeing to raise its daily vaccination target to 1.5 million jabs amid the arrival of more COVID-19 vaccine doses.

In his report to President Rodrigo Duterte in a taped public briefing aired late Tuesday, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said the continuous delivery of vaccine supplies in the country will allow the government to shift its focus to inoculating as much of the willing general population.

Galvez, who is also the National Task Force Against COVID-19 chief implementer, said that for the first half of October alone, 20 million vaccine doses have already been delivered under government and private sector procurements, as well as donations.

The World Health Organization-led COVAX facility delivered 7.3 million doses for this month, which is one of its biggest vaccine donations to the Philippines to date, he added.

Galvez also reported that apart from the COVAX facility, the United States also donated 6.4 million Pfizer jabs while Germany gave 884, 800 AstraZeneca doses.

Both the US and Germany have committed to donate more in the coming months, he added.

At this rate, the vaccine czar said that achieving 100 million COVID-19 vaccine doses delivery before end-October is “on track” and that vaccine supply shortage “is no longer an issue” with more than 38 million doses are safely stored in cold chain storage warehouses.

With the abundance of vaccine supply, Galvez said the government can now shift its attention to recalibrating its vaccine deployment strategy to inoculate the general population, including children, before the year ends.

The national government is aiming to vaccinate at least 50 million individuals this year.

As of Monday, a total of 24,498,753 have been fully vaccinated or 31.76 percent of the total vaccination target.

Phase 2 ng COVID-19 pediatric vaccination, sisimulan sa Biyernes – NVOC

Robie de Guzman   •   October 20, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Inihahanda na ng National Vaccination Operations Center (NVOC) ang lahat ng kailangan para sa pagsisimula ng phase 2 ng pagbabakuna sa mga batang may edad 12 hanggang 17 na may co-morbidities.

Ayon kay Dr. Kezia Rosario ng NVOC, magsisimula ang phase 2 ng pediatric vaccination sa Biyernes, Oct. 22.

Aniya, kabilang sa mga gagawing vaccination site ang mga non-hospital facility na inirekomenda ng local government units.

“We allowed several local governments after inspection. Nag-inspect po iyong NVOC at saka iyong CHDMM [Center for Health Development Metro Manila] ‘no, ng mga vaccination sites na ito,” ani Rosario.

Sa kabuuan, magiging 23 na ang vaccination site para sa COVID-19 pediatric vaccination kabilang ang walong ospital na kasalukuyang pinagdarausan ng pagbabakuna.

“Each of the local government units naman po ng National Capital Region has already prepared ng kanilang vaccination site using iyong hospital as a vaccination site. We had din na mga LGUs due to limitation ng spaces ng hospital have negotiated with us to use several of their nearby facilities as vaccination sites,” ani Rosario.

Wala pang inilalabas na listahan ng mga gagamiting vaccination site para sa Biyernes.

May basbas ng Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) ang desisyong gawin ang pediatric vaccination sa non-hospital venue.

“I believe tama rin yung mga LGU atleast hindi congested sa mga ospital at the same time yun transmission magkakaroon tayo ng medyo small ang probability ang transmission,” ani vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr.

Samantala, tiniyak naman ng NVOC na sapat ang supply ng bakunang magagamit para sa pagbabakuna sa mga bata.

Batay sa tala ng Department of Health (DOH) as of Oct. 19, nasa 3,416 na ang bilang ng mga 12 to 17-year old na nakatanggap ng first dose ng COVID-19 vaccines.

Una nang sinabi ng DOH na apat na bata ang napaulat na nakaranas ng adverse effects pagkatapos mabakunahan gaya ng allergic reaction ngunit lahat naman ay nasa maayos na kondisyon.

Paglalagay sa NCR sa COVID-19 Alert Level 2, hindi imposible — Malakanyang

Maris Federez   •   October 20, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Hindi isinasantabi ng Malakanyang ang posibilidad na mailagay sa COVID-19 Alert Level 2 ang National Capital Region (NCR) sa Disyembre.

Ayon sa tagapagsalita ng Palasyo, ito ay maaaring mangyari lalo na kung magtutuloy-tuloy na bumuti ang sitwasyon ng COVID-19 sa rehiyon.

Ayon kay Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque, ang datos pa rin ang titingnan ng Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) bago ito magdesisyon ng alert level sa susunod na buwan.

Kabilang sa mga indicator na pinag-aaralan ng IATF ang daily attack rate, two-week daily average attack rate at ang critical healthcare capacity.

“Titingnan natin ang datos pagdating ng end of the month kasi talagang tayo ay data-driven. Pero hindi po ito mangyayari kung magpapabaya po ang ating mga kababayan,” ani Roque.

“So importante po na habang nandiyan pa si COVID, patuloy po ang ating minimum health standards – mask, hugas, iwas at siyempre po bakuna dahil sagana po tayo ngayon sa bakuna,” dagdag pa ng opisyal. —/mbmf


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