DOH plans integration of Covid-19 measures into other health programs starting 2023


The Department of Health (DOH) is planning to include all measures related to Covid-19 in other public health programs beginning next year.

DOH Officer-in-Charge Maria Rosario Vergeire said they are “going to integrate the Covid-19 prevention measures and response in its entirety.”

This is not just about vaccination but this also includes “infection prevention and control in our different facilities,” said Vergeire.

“So Covid-19, start January, will be integrated already with our other public health programs. It is not going to be a special program anymore, it is not going to be specific only for Covid-19,” said Vergeire during a press briefing on Friday, Dec. 9.

“We would want our healthcare units to be implementing this integration para rin yung mindset ng tao, makakaalpas na tayo doon sa mindset of ‘takot tayo’ and yung mindset na kapag may ganito---paralyzed tayo with fear (in order change that mindset of the people that if there’s this disease ‘we are afraid’ or paralyzed with fear),” she added.

This integration will also help health facilities to focus and be “more efficient” in managing other health issues, said Vergeire.

“Kasi ngayon yung mga gamit natin ngayon for healthcare workers, resources--lahat nakatuon sa Covid-19. Kailangan, magkaroon na rin tayo ng pag-iisip sa ating pagpapatupad ng programa na hindi lang (At present, the tools and resources are mainly focused on Covid-19. We need to shift the mindset that the implementation of programs is not just about) Covid-19, there are still non-Covid illnesses that we need to address,” she said.

State of Calamity

The DOH once again urged lawmakers to pass the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) bill before the year ends. This bill is aimed at addressing public health emergencies.

Vergere said they might seek a one-month extension of the State of Calamity in order to continue the Covid-19 programs, in the event that the CDC bill will not be approved on time.

“Ang tinitingnan natin ngayon is sana maipasa yung at mapirmahan as law itong ating CDC law. Because within this CDC law, nakalagay diyan yung mga conditions natin for our response for Covid-19 para hindi maputol (What we are hoping for right now is that the CDC can be approved and signed into law. Because it is indicated in this CDC law the conditions for our response for Covid-19– in order for it not to be halted ),” she said.

“Kapag hindi naipasa bago matapos ang taon, kailangan natin makipag-usap sa Office of the President for an extension kahit isang buwan lang, hanggang maipasa natin yung CDC law (If it is not passed before the end of the year, we have to ask the Office of the President for an extension—at least for one month, until we pass the CDC law),” she added.

“Kasi hindi pwedeng maputol yung mga ginagawa natin ngayon katulad ng Covid-19 vaccination, regulation ng pagtaas ng mga ginagamit sa Covid-19, at iba pang bagay na kasama diyan (This is because we cannot stop the measures that we are doing right now such as Covid-19 vaccination and regulation of logistics being used for Covid-19, and others included in that),” she furthered.