Senator Christopher “Bong” Go urged the government to implement a more holistic approach to expand the capacities and capabilities of available health facilities to cope with the rapidly rising number of COVID-19 cases in the country, particularly in NCR Plus areas.
“Habang mas lalo nating pinapaigting ang mga hakbang upang maiwasan ang pagdami ng bilang ng kaso ng COVID-19, siguraduhin din natin na sapat ang kapasidad at kapabilidad ng ating healthcare system sa bansa upang gamutin at mailigtas ang buhay ng mga nagkakasakit, lalo na ang mga severe COVID-19 cases,” Go said.
Go, who is the Chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, appealed to concerned agencies, with the help of the private sector, to expedite the construction and expansion of more modular facilities and tents equipped with COVID-19 isolation areas and ICU beds to cater particularly to those with severe conditions.
“I laud the continuing efforts of the government to provide more isolation facilities for people with mild and moderate COVID-19 cases; however, the need for more facilities that can handle severe and critical conditions must also be considered,” Go said.
The Senator also urged the government to identify locations where modular facilities and tents equipped with ICU beds may be installed or existing structures that can be transformed into temporary health facilities to accommodate severe COVID-19 cases.
Based on a recent discussion with key executive officials, Go shared that donations of ICU tents and medical equipment are already being facilitated through the Department of Health. Hotels located near hospitals are also being considered as possible temporary health facilities.
Go also called on the government to double its efforts, through the One Hospital Command Center, in order to reduce further the waiting time for patients needing urgent treatment or admission, provide faster medical transport and patient pick-up, and facilitate much improved use of critical care services in health facilities.
“Nakakaawa po ‘yung mga kababayan nating naghihingalo na tapos wala pang mahanap na ospital. Buhay po ang nakasalalay sa bawat minutong pag-aantay makakuha lang ng ospital, kama, at doktor para maalagaan sila,” he lamented.
“Huwag nating hintayin na nag-aagaw buhay na sa labas ng mga ospital ang ating mga kababayang may sakit. Gawin natin ang lahat ng ating makakaya para sagipin at gamutin sila,” he added.
Go also proposed additional measures to reinforce further the government’s pandemic response in a bid to contain the rapid rise in the number of COVID-19 cases.
The Senator specifically called for an enhanced implementation and monitoring of the Prevent, Detect, Isolate, Treat and Rehabilitate (PDITR) actions, particularly in the local level.
Go emphasized that the government must also improve its testing capacity by maximizing the use of cheaper but accurate rapid antigen tests authorized by the Food and Drug Administration.
“Local government units must also strengthen their border control to regulate the flow of people in order to prevent the overspill of high cases of COVID-19 infections into less critical areas in the country,” Go further suggested.
Meanwhile, Go called on the government to address the need to augment the availability of medical frontliners, particularly in critical areas where a significant number of them have been overburdened or infected with COVID-19.
“I laud the bayanihan efforts of nurses in the Visayas who expressed willingness to be deployed in ‘NCR Plus’ areas. Patunay lamang po ito na sa kabila ng pandemya, malakas pa rin ang diwa ng bayanihan sa bansa,” said Go.
He also appealed to health workers in other parts of the country with lower COVID-19 cases to also be ready to extend help in critical areas.
“In these trying times, we need a holistic whole-of-nation approach to fully overcome this pandemic,” he said.
The Senator further appealed to DOH to provide sufficient guidelines for primary care providers and community health workers who are treating mild cases of COVID-19 isolating at home to make sure the latter receive the necessary care and assistance they need to recover.
Go also noted the need to improve existing data collection and management systems so authorities can develop more effective strategies and prevent another wave of widespread COVID-19 transmissions.
Go called on the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases to conduct more open dialogues with medical experts, scientists, and other health advocates to promote a constructive exchange of ideas and come up with science-based recommendations in overcoming the pandemic.
“Marami pong mahuhusay na mga scientists at doktor sa bansa. Bigyan natin sila ng oportunidad na makatulong. May boses sila sa gobyernong ito. Kahit ang Pangulo, sinisigurado palagi na base sa siyensya at tamang pag-aaral ang mga desisyon na dapat ipatupad,” Go stressed.
Go further reminded government officials of the Duterte Administration’s whole-of-nation approach in dealing with the ongoing crisis.
“To our officials, let us be more inclusive and open to suggestions from various stakeholders. We cannot overcome this alone. Kaya nga po bayanihan ang isinisigaw natin noong simula palang. Bigyan natin ng oportunidad ang lahat na tumulong para mas mabilis natin malampasan ang krisis na ito,” he said.
Meanwhile, Go enjoined everyone to contribute to the ongoing bayanihan efforts, emphasizing that the cooperation of all sectors is necessary to secure the welfare, well-being, and way of life of Filipinos amid the unprecedented global crisis.
“Bawat isa sa atin ay may tungkulin sa kapwa, sa ating komunidad, at sa ating bayan. Lahat tayo ay dapat maging bahagi ng solusyon,” he said.
“Laging tandaan na ang ating kooperasyon, bayanihan, at malasakit sa kapwa ay makapagliligtas ng buhay ng kapwa nating Pilipino!” he concluded.