The government pandemic task force is planning to invite certain hospitals, laboratories and disease reporting units (DRUs) to a meeting to get their explanation behind the incomplete case reporting system that hampers contact tracing efforts.
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said they sent a “strongly worded” letter to these health facilities, particularly those in Quezon City, calling for compliance to the submission of accurate, complete and timely information about coronavirus patients.
The letter was signed by Nograles, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra. Duque chairs the Inter-Agency Task for the Management of Infectious Diseases (IATF) while Nograles serves as co-chair.
"Nakakabahala nga na nakikita namin na meron mga disease reporting units na hindi nakakapagbigay ng tamang datos in terms of pangalan ng complete name, complete address, pati contact numbers of patients. Mayroon din tayo mga ospitals na ganun na hindi sila nagre-report ng mga complete addresses at contact details ng mga pasyente nila na may COVID at ganun rin ang mga confirming laboratories. (We are concerned that disease reporting units are unable to submit data in terms of complete name, address and contact numbers of patients. There are also hospitals and confirming laboratories not submitting complete addresses and contact details of patients with COVID),” Nograles said in an interview over DZBB Sunday.
"Dito tayo nagkakaroon ng gap sa pag contact tracing kaya iniisip namin na papatawag namin ito sa isang meeting itong mga ospital na ito, itong mga laboratories na ito at kumbaga kausapin namin sila kung bakit kulang-kulang yung mga data na binibigay nila sa DOH. (Department of Health) at Quezon City (We have a gap in the contact tracing efforts so we’re thinking of calling these hospitals, laboratories to a meeting so talk to them why the data submitted to the DOH and Quezon City are incomplete)," he said.
Without giving names of the facilities, Nograles said a hospital in Quezon City had 1,999 cases with incomplete critical data about the patient while another hospital had 838 incomplete cases. Other hospitals recorded incomplete cases ranging between 300 and 500.
Nograles said they suspect the incomplete data collection may be occurring in other places.
"Kapag kulang ang data na binibigay o sina-submit nila, magkakaroon tayo ng problema sa contact tracing (If they submit incomplete data, we will have problem in contact tracing)," he said.
In an August 17 statement, the IATF reminded all DRUs, health facilities, laboratories and local government units about their responsibility "to provide accurate, complete and timely data on COVID-19 cases through COVIDKaya or information systems via an application program interface."
The data collected from a patient must include full name, complete address, contact number, and completely filled up case investigation form. The information is necessary to initiate contact tracing, according to the IATF.
The IATF also said the health department will publish list of non-compliant facilities and local government units and enforce sanctions based on the Republic Act No. 11332 or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases Act, Republic Act No. 4266 or the Hospital Licensure Act, and RA 4688 or the Clinical Laboratory Law.
Since the letter was sent, Nograles said some health facilities have started to submit complete data of coronavirus patients. Contact tracing must still be immediately to detect and isolate thosee with the illness, he added.
"Kailangan ayusin natin ito kaya ipapatawag namin sa meeting ang mga ito. i-ko-call namin ang attention. (We must fix this so we will them to a meeting to call their attention)," he said.
As of September 6, the country has recorded 237,365 cases of coronavirus with 3,875 deaths.