Baguio City to create ‘support bubble’ for COVID-19 vulnerable residents

Published January 18, 2021, 12:39 PM

by Zaldy Comanda

BAGUIO CITY – The creation of “support bubbles” or neighborhood watch programs for the vulnerable members of barangays here is in the offing.

This was disclosed by City Health Officer Dr. Rowena Galpo, who said that medical authorities have cited the need to look after vulnerable members of barangays to effectively address the number of fatalities being recorded in the city.

The creation of “support bubble” or neighborhood watch program for the vulnerable population in the city’s barangays was laid down by the medical authorities from public and private health sectors to prevent more coronavirus disease (COVID-19)-related fatalities. 

She said medical professionals, including directors of different hospitals, infectious disease experts and representatives from the Philippine College of Physicians, have come up with a five-pronged approach to address the disturbing average of one fatality daily in the city.

This includes the creation of support groups, composed of relatives, neighbors and members of the Barangay Health Emergency Response Team (BHERT), who will be assigned to monitor, look after and attend to the medical needs of the vulnerable residents like senior citizens and persons with pre-existing illnesses like those undergoing cancer and dialysis treatments.

She said this was to ensure that their health condition was being properly tracked so that they can be given immediate medical attention upon the emergency of early symptoms. 

This would also serve as a deterrent to widespread transmission as exposure to high risk members of the community will be limited to specific and minimal number of persons.

Mayor Benjamin Magalong raised the possibility of adopting the doctor to the barrio concept to bring medical services to the barangays with guidelines to be drafted by a technical working group to be formed.

The strategies also include enhanced implementation of telemedicine mode of consultation.

Immediate isolation of positive members of the household in designated facilities will continue to be done to avoid further spread of the virus.

Advocacies for “early consult, early detection, early treatment” in the communities will be done through enhanced risk communication means as case analysis showed that one of the reasons for the increase in deaths was the late seeking of medical consultations as most of the most of the recent fatalities were either declared dead on arrival or already in severe in stages of illnesses upon arrival at the hospital.

As part of the strategy, test kits and immune system boosters like vitamins will also be made easily available in hospitals and health facilities.

The city has already registered a total of 83 deaths from March 2020 to January 16, 2021 for a 1.89 percent fatality rate.  Most of these patients belonged to the vulnerable sector like senior citizens and those with pre-existing medical conditions like diabetes, hypertension, chronic kidney disease and cancer