Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto is pushing the use of quality, locally-manufactured personal protective equipment (PPEs) for the country’s health workers to make sure that they are protected from the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Recto said medical frontliners were being infected with the virus due to the substandard PPEs that they have been using while they deal with COVID-19 patients.
“Many of our health workers have been hit by COVID[-19] as well, infected. And from my sources, a lot of them, kaya tinamaan ng COVID[-19] (are infected), is because the PPEs they are using are not up to standard,” the Senate leader said during their plenary discussion Tuesday.
The Department of Health (DOH) reported that as of July 30, a total of 4,823 health care workers tested positive for COVID-19, 296 of them still active cases. Of the affected health workers, 38 have died.
Recto said the government should scale up the production of PPEs in the country and implement a standard testing for quality PPEs to prevent the transmission of the disease to frontliners.
“I hope this is corrected as well under Bayanihan 2, that we are able to purchase the high quality standard PPEs for our health practitioners. And of course, it has to be adequate as well for them,” he said.
The Senate recently passed on third and final reading its proposed “Bayanihan to Recover as One Act”, or the Bayanihan 2, which continues the COVID-19 response and recovery programs enforced under the expired Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.
The bill speeds up the procurement of PPEs, gloves, gowns, face masks, face shields and other necessary goods and equipment.
Under the measure, P10 billion of the proposed P140-billion allocation of COVID-19 response and recovery programs shall be released to the Department of Health for the procurement PCR test kits and for improving healthcare services to eliminate, prevent and control the spread of COVID-19 and other diseases.
Earlier, senators have also called for the use of PCR test kits developed by the University of the Philippines to augment the government’s COVID-19 testing efforts.