By Hannah L. Torregoza
Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara has urged the government to build more mega quarantine facilities in Region 7, especially in Cebu, as the number of cases continue to rise in Central Visayas.
“We need to put up more mega quarantine facilities in Region 7, especially in Cebu City, which could become the country’s next COVID-19 hotspot in the country,” Angara said.
“The Department of Health (DOH) should step up its response in Cebu City because the only way that we can flatten the curve is if all areas of the country are able to control the spread of the disease,” the senator said.
Angara made the call in response to the 13th report of Malacañang to Congress on the implementation of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act last Wednesday, June 24.
Reports show that health workers—particularly in Cebu City — are now overworked due to rising COVID-19 infections and are now asking for more support from both the government and the private sector.
Angara also urged hospitals in Cebu City to adopt the use of convalescent plasma therapy to treat severe cases of COVID-19.
The convalescent plasma therapy, Angara said, helped him recover from COVID-19 when he too, got infected by the disease.
Sen. Risa Hontiveros raised concerns over the DOH’s move to pull out and redeploy medical workers under the “Doctors to the Barrios” (DTTB) program to work in private hospitals in Cebu City.
Hontiveros said that while she understands the need to augment the health care workforce in the Central Visayas region to respond to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases there, the DOH should ensure that communities in poor municipalities and far-flung areas will not be left vulnerable amid the ongoing pandemic.
She said the DOH should instead heed Congress’ previous call of hiring more healthcare workers and doctors instead of re-deploying DTTBs.
“Why do they have to re-deploy them to private hospitals when they can conduct emergency hiring of health professionals to augment human resources for health for deployment in hospital and community health settings,” Hontiveros said.
“Hangga’t maaari, huwag na natin ilagay sa alanganin ang kalusugan ng mga nasa malalayong komunidad (As much as possible, let’s not compromise the health of our citizens living in far-flung communities),” she said.
“We should improve access to healthcare in our far-flung areas and communities and not further limit it,” the senator said.