Cebu City health sys­tem breaks down – solon

DOH urged to ad­dress short­age of health work­ers, am­bu­lances, med­i­cal sup­plies

Manila Bulletin - - Front Page - By CHARISSA L. ATIENZA and NOREEN JAZUL

Cebu City 2nd Dis­trict Rep. Ro­drigo Abel­lanosa is call­ing on the Depart­ment of Health (DOH) to ad­dress with dis­patch the short­age of health work­ers, am­bu­lances, and med­i­cal sup­plies in the city, which is now overwhelme­d by the un­abated num­ber of pa­tients who tested pos­i­tive for coro­n­avirus dis­ease (COVID-19).

He said the DOH should “im­me­di­ately” step up and re­solve the in­creas­ing num­ber of COVID-19 cases, the de­plet­ing num­ber of med­i­cal work­ers, and scarce med­i­cal sup­plies in the city, par­tic­u­larly in ar­eas with high virus cases.

“With the daily un­abated num­ber of pos­i­tive cases in Cebu City, the lo­cal health care sys­tem nat­u­rally breaks down. Peo­ple are dy­ing even be­fore they

could get ad­mit­ted and tested,” Abel­lanosa lamented.

“Med­i­cal per­son­nel, am­bu­lances, equip­ment and sup­plies are run­ning very low. I hope Sec­re­tary (Fran­cisco) Duque (III) can have these ad­dressed im­me­di­ately,” he said in a text mes­sage.

Abel­lanosa ex­pressed the same con­cern of the Cebu Med­i­cal So­ci­ety, stress­ing that the city’s health sys­tem is “ex­hausted and overwhelme­d” that has left many pa­tients un­treated.

“DOH should bring in more health work­ers now,” he said.

En­vi­ron­ment and Nat­u­ral Re­sources Sec­re­tary Roy Ci­matu, who was tasked by Pres­i­dent Duterte to over­see COVID-19 re­sponse in Cebu City, has rec­om­mended the de­ploy­ment ad­di­tional health work­ers in the city.

“If we can have 30 per­cent more of what we have here,” Ci­matu said.

With the cur­rent state of COVID19 in­fec­tions, Ci­matu said he has rec­om­mended to Pres­i­dent Duterte to keep Cebu City un­der the en­hanced com­mu­nity quar­an­tine (ECQ).

“We have to main­tain the quar­an­tine level here,” Ci­matu, head of Re­gion 7 COVID-19 In­ter-Agency Task Force for the Man­age­ment of

Emerg­ing In­fec­tious Dis­eases (IATF), told ANC on Tues­day.

“Kung sa first aid, ito, stop the bleed­ing be­cause it is bleed­ing now (If this is first aid, what we have to do is stop the bleed­ing first, be­cause it is bleed­ing now),” Ci­matu added.

Ci­matu said he also re­quested for ad­di­tional rooms in hos­pi­tals, ad­di­tional quar­an­tine sta­tions for Cebu City, and is eye­ing to con­vert large spa­ces in the city into iso­la­tion fa­cil­i­ties like what the gov­ern­ment did in Metro Manila.

He also said that iso­la­tion cen­ters put up in­side barangays in Cebu City will be trans­ferred far­ther to fur­ther pre­vent the lo­cal trans­mis­sion of COVID-19.

In an in­ter­view with ANC on Tues­day, Ci­matu said the putting up of iso­la­tion cen­ters within barangays has con­trib­uted to the in­crease in the num­ber of cases in the city.

“I have to trans­fer iy­ong iso­la­tion struc­ture nila out­side of their re­spec­tive barangays. Ilalayo ko para di na maulit ito (I have to trans­fer the iso­la­tion struc­tures out­side of their re­spec­tive barangays. They need to be moved far­ther),” he added.

He is also eye­ing the con­ver­sion of the Cebu Coli­seum into a quar­an­tine fa­cil­ity for coro­n­avirus pa­tients in the city and nearby ar­eas.

While there are ex­ist­ing quar­an­tine fa­cil­i­ties in Cebu City, there is a need to pass a mea­sure seek­ing the cre­ation of re­gional quar­an­tine fa­cil­i­ties, Abel­lanosa said.

He ral­lied be­hind the pas­sage of House Bill No. 7005, the pro­posed “Manda­tory Quar­an­tine Fa­cil­i­ties Act of 2020, prin­ci­pally au­thored by Deputy Speaker and Ca­marines Sur 2nd Dis­trict Rep. Luis Ray­mund Vil­la­fuerte Jr.

“We badly need these fa­cil­i­ties. We are yet to see the light at the end of the tun­nel in the dark­ness of this pan­demic. This pan­demic con­tin­ues to be a knee on our neck,” he said.

Ci­matu also de­fended the de­ploy­ment of more mil­i­tary per­son­nel in the city, say­ing it helped in terms of man­ning check­points and pre­vent­ing res­i­dents from go­ing out of their homes.

“The in­ten­tion na­man talaga (re­ally) is not to ac­tu­ally show force. It’s a way of pre­vent­ing them from go­ing out­side,” Ci­matu said.

Re­ports said some 2,000 uni­formed per­son­nel from the Philip­pine Na­tional Po­lice (PNP) and a 33-man med­i­cal team from the Armed Forces of the Philip­pines (AFP) have been de­ployed in Cebu City as aug­men­ta­tion forces to help and as­sist in the im­ple­men­ta­tion and en­force­ment of health and safety pro­to­cols un­der ECQ. (With a re­port from El­la­lyn de Vera-Ruiz)

ROY CI­MATU

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