PH garment exporters group donates PPEs to PGH amid COVID-19 crisis

Robie de Guzman   •   April 22, 2020   •   482

MANILA, Philippines – A group of local garment exporters has turned over 10,000 personal protective equipment (PPE) coveralls to the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) for its health workers dealing with novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The locally-manufactured PPEs were donated to the PGH on Wednesday by the Confederation of Wearables Exporters of the Philippines (CONWEP).

This is the first batch of 300,000 PPE suits to be donated to the Department of Health for the use of its COVID-19 frontline workers.

CONWEP expressed confidence it will be able to help supply the much-needed medical-grade PPEs for the health workers in the country.

“At a single shift, 6 days a week, we should put that up to 7 days and double shift, we’re looking at one group producing already a 20,000 to 25,000 a day. And if you have about 4 of them, we can easily match, if we have four in the group producing equally the same, kaya namin y’ong 100,000 a day,” Maritess Jocson Agoncillo, CONWEP executive director, said.

The Department of Health (DOH) expressed gratitude for the donated PPEs.

Authorities earlier said more than 100,000 PPEs are needed daily for the use of medical frontliners. Based on its 90-day requirement, the country will need around 11 million protective gears to combat the COVID-19 crisis.

So far, the government has been able to get around one million PPEs, as it continues with the procurement process with the help of the private sector.

With the limited supply of PPEs in the country, PGH director Dr. Gerardo Legaspi called on other hospitals and healthcare workers to employ a system in using and conserving of the protective gear amid the fight against COVID-19.

“I think, the participation of the end-users, the hospital, the health care workers is also very important in ensuring that we optimize this very precious commodity,” he said.

The DOH, meanwhile, reminded healthcare workers of the protocols on the use and disposal of PPEs to prevent contamination.

“Paglabas, tatanggalin nila y’ong PPEs nila pero y’ong scrub suits underneath, hindi nila tinatanggal. So, lalabas sila. So, pagkaganoon ang nangyari, talagang sabi nila you will expect a contamination to happen,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Asher Cadapan Jr.)

DILG, DOH launch ‘Bida ang may Disiplina’ program to promote public discipline

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 15, 2020

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Department of Health (DOH) launched a program to promote public discipline during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The “BIDA ang may Disiplina: Solusyon sa COVID-19” is a national advocacy campaign launched in Barangay Jesus dela Peña, City of Marikina.

DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año said the campaign is a joint effort to encourage people to earnestly practice the minimum health standards set by health authorities.

“Through the said campaign, the public, down to the barangays and families, is encouraged to be self-disciplined and cooperative in abiding with the minimum health standards (e.g. B.I.D.A.), and other COVID-19 policies,” he said in a statement. “It is only through concerted and unified efforts can we win this battle.”

Año also directs LGUs to encourage citizens to exercise new normal minimum health safety standards prescribed by the World Health Organization (WHO). These include frequent hand washing; cough etiquette; avoiding touching one’s face; observance of at least one-meter physical distancing in public; regular disinfection of frequently touched objects and surfaces; isolating oneself from others if feeling unwell and seeking of care, if needed; avoiding confined and closed spaces with poor ventilation; avoiding crowded places; and avoiding close-contact settings, especially where people have close-range conversations. AAC (with reports from Vincent Arboleda)

DOH reminds licensed laboratories to submit complete COVID-19 data

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 11, 2020

The Department of Health (DOH) has reminded licensed coronavirus disease (COVID-19) laboratories to submit their data on the deadly virus.

Based on the report of the DOH, out of 100 licensed laboratories in the country, only 70% have submitted the requirements for COVID-19 data on time.

DOH Spokesperson Usec. Maria Rosario Vergeire said they are looking into the possible consequences for COVID-19 laboratories that are not compliant with the data protocols.

“If they are not compliant there would be some form of warnings and maybe suspension pinag-aaralan naming maigi,” she said.

Vergeire explained that the Health Department and COVID-19 laboratories have data reconciliation every week to ensure there will be no duplicates in the total number of coronavirus disease cases in the country.

The report also states that there are 3,177 backlogs in COVID-19 laboratories that are up for validation. AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

PH may possibly ‘flatten the curve’ if MECQ extends for two more weeks – Experts

Marje Pelayo   •   August 10, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) believes that the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) needs to be extended for two more weeks for the government to assess its effectiveness in containing the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) transmission.

According to DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, it is still early to conclude if quarantine restrictions could be lifted or extended in areas under MECQ as they have many factors to consider before they can decide on what could happen after the two-week MECQ. 

“Hindi natin masasabi pa sa ngayon kung ano na talaga ang nangyayari [We cannot tell what will happen as of yet],” Vergeire said.

“We will see the effect maybe three weeks to one month kasi may 14 days incubation period. May nadagdag ba? Nakahinga ba ang ating health system dito sa two weeks na nakapag- recalibrate tayo [We will see the effect maybe three weeks to one month given the 14-days incubation period. Did the number increase? Was our health system able to breathe in these two weeks that we were able to recalibrate]?” she added. 

Vergeire said, for now, they cannot really tell if the National Capital Region (NCR) can be reverted to general community quarantine (GCQ).

Meanwhile, experts are still studying the rate of COVID-19 cases in the country and the current capacity of hospitals. 

Usec. Vergeire also noted the importance of active participation of local government units (LGU) to curb the spread of COVID-19 in communities, especially in clustered barangays in the NCR.

“Hirap pa tayo magbigay sa ngayon [We cannot conclude yet at the moment]. It is not just the cases that we are looking for during assessment. Tingnan din natin capacity ng health system [We should also look at the capacity of our health system],” Vergeire noted.

The UP OCTA Research group, on the other hand, said their case projection has slowed down because of the government-imposed MECQ. 

From 200,000, their case projection lowered to about 170,000 to 190,000 cases.

According to Dr. Guido David, the COVID-19 R-Naught or rate of transmission has dropped since the implementation of MECQ when most of the people are confined in their homes.

The group believes that if the MECQ is further extended, the Philippines might achieve the flattening of the curve. 

“It’s very possible even by end of August pwede nang ma- flatten ang curve, pero [the curve can be flattened but] like I said, flattening of the curve at the end hindi ibig sabihin katapusan na ito [doesn’t mean it’s over],” David said.

Hopefully, kapag nag- flatten ang curve maybe we can already sustain it kapag nag- GCQ na tayo [Hopefully, when the curve is finally flattened, we can already sustain it once we shift to GCQ],” he added.

Dr. David noted that although the community quarantine has been an enormous help in containing the virus, the most important still is the overall effort and collaboration of the public and those who enforce the minimum health protocols, especially the wearing of face masks. 

The DOH, meanwhile, advised the public particularly those with elderly family members and immunocompromised individuals to always wear masks even inside the house and maintain social distancing to curb COVID-19 transmission. –MNP (with details from Aiko Miguel)

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