DOH backs frontliners’ ‘timeout’ plea

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The Department of Health (DOH) said that it is supporting the appeal of the medical community for a “timeout,” particularly in the National Capital Region (NCR), amid the country’s current fight against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

(MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

“We support the call of our frontliners to ensure a science-based approach and stricter implementation of community quarantine measures,” the DOH said in a statement dated Aug. 1 released Sunday.

“In our dialogue earlier with the medical community, we have committed to advocate for the call for a time-out for NCR in our IATF (Interagency Task Force) meeting,” it added.

The DOH did not specify if it is backing to place the NCR under the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) as proposed by the medical community.

The DOH said that it is closely working with the Office of the President and other government agencies to address the healthcare workers’ concerns.

“The time out you have asked for will buy us the time to refine and revisit our strategies to meet the evolving nature of this global pandemic. At the same time, this reprieve can also give us the critical space to marshal resources that will help us win this fight,” the State health agency said.

“The battle is not over, and it will not be for a long-time yet. But this is where, with you, we are drawing a line in the sand — and starting strongly and without hesitation that from this point on, we will marshall all our efforts to turn the tide,” it added.

The DOH said that it aims to “create a rapid response team of trained medical workers who can help prevent our health system of the National Capital Region from being overrun.”

“We are openly asking assistance from our fellow healthcare workers to help out our colleagues, brothers, and sisters in Metro Manila,” it added.

The DOH asked universities and medical societies to help in hiring more doctors, nurses, and other medical staff. “It is not an understatement to say that your brethren in NCR need your help,” the agency said.

The DOH assured that those healthcare workers who will join the call will be provided hazard pay, accomodation, transport, personal protective equipment; as well as psychosocial, emotional, and mental support.

The DOH said that it will also provide a “roadmap and technical assistance” to ensure that local government units put in place effective contact tracing operations.

“We reiterate the need to hire an additional 50,000 contact tracers and to scale up their training and deployment to hotspots nationwide and mobilize/capacitate BHERTS (Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams) and BHWs (Barangay Health Worker) to serve as the navigator and coordinator in a true primary care approach,” it said.

The Health department also asked the public to continuously observe the minimum health standards.

“We emphasize the need for each and every Filipino to rise up to the challenge and be part of the solution — by making sure that he or she correctly and diligently practices wearing of mask, washing hands, and physical distancing,” it said.

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