More medical experts should be involved in COVID-19 response planning — Gordon

Published August 4, 2020, 12:37 PM

by Jeffrey Damicog

Senator Richard Gordon said on Tuesday the government should have more health experts participating in the government’s planning in response to the coronavirus disease (covid-19) pandemic.

Senator Richard Gordon
(Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

“I often said, tawagin natin ang mga health experts, mga scientists, mga public health, magsama-sama lahat yan, yung mga epidemiologist (let’s call on the health experts, the scientists, those in public health, epidemiologists to gather together),” he said during an interview over CNN Philippines.

“Dapat yan ang kinakausap (They should be the ones we should talk to),” said the senator in response to observations that there are too many military men participating in the planning of the government’s response to the pandemic.

Gordon, however, said that  those from the military service are also needed in the planning.

“Yung military sa implementation kaya nila yan. Sanay sila doon sa ‘give an order, I will follow it’. Pero to prepare a plan hindi (The military men are needed for the implementation. They are used to the term ‘given an order, I will follow it. But not the planning),” he explained.

“Iba ito sa giyera. Ang giyera dito hindi mo nakikita. Ang nakakaalam ay scientists (This is different from an actual war. The war here can’t be seen. The ones who know are scientists),” Gordon said.

He expressed support for the decision of the medical community to speak out and ask the government to impose stricter quarantine restrictions to slow down the increase in the number of COVID-19 cases.

“Mabuti rin ang mga doktor nagsalita na sila. That’s the big signal na pinapakinggan (It’s a good thing the doctors have spoken out. That’s the big signal that we have to listen to),” Gordon said.

“Pag nawala yung mga frontliners natin, nawala yung mga doktor, nawala ang mga nurses, wala na tayong proteksyon (When the frontliners are gone, the doctors are gone, the nurses are gone, we no longer have protection),” he added.

Gordon has already filed a resolution seeking a Senate inquiry on the status, capability, and plan of the government to combat COVID-19.

Among his suggestions to the government, Gordon, who is the chairman of the Philippine Red Cross, said a “command and control center” should be established to assist the public seeking help for COVID-19 concerns.

“Dapat may command and control system ka na may mga doktor doon para pag gumagalaw yung mga tao at nanghihingi ng tulong magagawa natin (We need a command and control system manned by doctors so that when the people seek help it can be done),” said Gordon. He said the Red Cross has a similar command center.

With a command and control system, the senator explained the public can call a hotline where they can be advised what to do if they are showing symptoms of COVID-19, which available hospital to go, and even offer transportation.

Gordon also suggested the establishment of a “one patient, one record system.”

“Hopefully sa malapit na panahon, one patient one record, pairalin na yan (Hopefully in the near future, we establish the one patient, one record system),” he said.

The said there is no unified medical record for each person and that hospitals and doctors keep separate records for every individual.