By Ben Rosario
As various countries scramble for ventilators for COVID-19 patients, the Stop Covid-19 (SC-19) coalition on Saturday called on government to act swiftly in acquiring at least 1,500 more adult ventilators within the next two weeks.
Composed of groups of medical professionals and health advocates, SC-19 warned that unless swift action is taken by government, citizens, particularly medical frontliners, will be put at greater risk for a more serious COVID-19 threat.
So serious is the problem faced by many countries that U.S. President Donald Trump vowed to use a national law on war emergencies to force an American company to speed up its production line of ventilators and make more of them available on the market.
“Using various epidemiologic projections, we estimate that we have to boost our existing supply of about 1,500 adult ventilators by an additional 1,500 units within the next two weeks to save the lives of both COVID and non-COVID patients,” the SC-19 said in a press statement.
It proposed “acute interventions” for the Philippines to avoid a graver COVID-19 threat due to the global shortage of ventilators.
Among its proposals is the rapid mobilization of a pool of biomedical technicians and engineers to repair and recondition out-of-order ventilators in hospital stockrooms.
The group also urged government to “provide for contingency measures: sharing or lending of ventilators and the conduct of online videoconferencing, webinars, and other methods of online learning to ensure technical support to doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists providing ventilator management, where needed.”
“Purchase machines for non-invasive ventilation, e.g. CPAP and BiPAP machines, ancillary equipment, i.e. pulse oximeters (one per patient), humidifiers, heat and moisture exchange (HME) filters, and bacterial filters, etc.,” the organization added.
Members of the coalition include the Philippine Medical Association, Philippine College of Physicians, Philippine Pediatric Society, Ang Nars, Coalition of Services of the Elderly, Inc., Far Eastern University Biological Science Society, Psoriasis Philippines, Public Services Labor Independent Confederation (PSLINK), Polytechnic University of the Philippines Economics Research Society, and Asia-Pacific Center for Evidence-Based Healthcare, among others.