Comparing PH handling of COVID pandemic with other countries is unfair — DOH

Published January 29, 2021, 10:43 AM

by Analou de Vera

Comparing the Philippines with other nations when it comes to handling the COVID-19 pandemic is “unfair” since countries have different health system capacities, the Department of Health (DOH) said. 


DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire was reacting to the study made by Australian think tank Lowy Institute, where the Philippines was ranked 79th out of 98 countries when it comes to COVID-19 pandemic responses. 

Vergeire said the country is open to this kind of academic exercises as “this kind of data helps to guide the government on how we are addressing the pandemic.” However, she added, “there are differences on how we contextualize our response in the country.”

“First, they measured this number of confirmed cases, this number of deaths and all— but they did not measure the response that has been undertaken by each of the countries,” said Vergeire in an interview with ANC. 

“It should be taken in a complete manner where we are being compared to other countries also which have different health systems across the globe,” she said. 

“So comparing us with the United States, comparing us with Thailand which have better health systems from the start compared to the Philippines, I think it’s not at all fair or I think it’s not alright,” she added. 

Vergeire said the Philippines measures its pandemic response in a “ multi-dimensional manner.”

“If you would notice here in our country, we measure our response in a multi-dimensional manner looking at outcomes and looking also at the granular aspects of doing the response—like doing contact tracing, doing surveillance efforts and all,” she said. 

“Our parameters would always include not just the number of cases and deaths but also looking at the capacity of our healthcare system so we will have a more complete picture of how we are measuring this response,” she added.