DOH cites strides in COVID-19 vaccination, healthcare system │ GMA News Online

2022-10-09 07:16:27 By : Mr. Allen Zhou

The Department of Health (DOH) has cited major breakthroughs in the country's healthcare system, including the ramping up of COVID-19 booster jabs campaign, and the strengthening of the medical workforce amid the pandemic, under the directives of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. in his first 100 days in office.

In a media release on Friday, the DOH said that it has accelerated its COVID-19 vaccination and booster rollout efforts through the "PinasLakas" vaccination drive, which was launched on July 26.

As of October 6, at least 45,255 senior citizens and 3,433,713 individuals from the eligible population were vaccinated and boosted, respectively.

“The numbers helped improve the country’s vaccination rate for fully vaccinated individuals to 93.81% or 73.3 million Filipinos as of October 6, 2022. The number of Filipinos who received their first booster dose also increased to 25.62% of the general population or 20 million individuals,” the DOH said.

The PinasLakas campaign initially aimed to administer booster shots to 50% of the country's eligible population within the first 100 days of the Marcos administration.

Earlier, the DOH said 19,283 PinasLakas sites have been launched all over the country, which include areas such as markets, schools, workplaces, terminals, places of worship, and mobile vaccination sites among others where free, safe, and effective vaccines are made available.

Likewise, the Health department sustained its testing capacity with an average daily demand-driven output of 17,788 tests from 350 DOH-licensed COVID-19 testing laboratories as of September 30.

Moreover, the DOH said that the support of the local government units (LGUs) and concerned agencies in strengthening the country’s COVID-19 detection, control, and isolation resulted in the Office of the President’s decision to allow the voluntary wearing of facemasks in outdoor settings on September 12.

On the otherhand, the government has disbursed over P26 billion for the grant of COVID-19 benefits and compensation as of September 30, according to the DOH.

Of the amount, over P18 billion was disbursed for the grant of Special Risk Allowance (SRA), Meals, Accommodation, and Transportation (MAT) benefits, Active Hazard Duty Pay (AHDP), and Life Insurance Enrolment under the Bayanihan Laws; P6.64 billion for the provision of Health Emergency Allowance (HEA) formerly known as One COVID-19 Allowance; and P1.56 billion for the payment of COVID-19 Sickness and Death Compensation.

Furthermore, the DOH said it has strengthened its Healthcare Provider Networks (HCPN) established during the pandemic, by improving the country’s referral system and expanding healthcare access.

The National Patient Navigation and Referral Center catered to 89% of successful referrals within 48 hours from July 1 to September 30, it added.

As for healthcare access, at least six specialty centers namely: the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center (BGHMC); Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) for cancer; Mariano Marcos Memorial Hospital and Medical Center (MMMHMC); Batangas Medical Center (BMC); Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC); and SPMC for neonatal services were completed, increasing the total number of functional specialty centers in the country to 46.

Meanwhile, the DOH said that most hospitals have already achieved 65% to 91% of their completion including specialty centers covering heart, lung, and kidney.

It also prioritized the completion, upgrading, repairing, and/or equipping of 1,661 health facilities, including 1,034 barangay health stations, 323 rural health units, four polyclinics, 125 LGU hospitals, 79 DOH hospitals, 15 military hospitals, and 88 other health care facilities.

So far, the department also deployed at least 29,948 human resources for health (HRH) all over the country -- including doctors, dentists, nurses, pharmacists, medical technologists, nutritionist-dietitians, midwives, and physical therapists to support various health programs.

Additionally, it implemented the Medical Assistance for Indigent Patients Program (MAIPP), which aims to augment any remaining hospital bills of indigent patients, after the deduction of PhilHealth coverage, and provide them with free medicine and other medical interventions.

As of August 2022, the DOH said it has served 975,928 patients using P12.21 billion of the P15.65 billion allotted for the program.

“The DOH will continue to further realize the true meaning of Universal Health Care to continue to serve the Filipinos with the quality health service that they deserve. Hindi po titigil ang Kagawaran ng Kalusugan sa pagpaparamdam sa bawat Juan at Juana ng ginhawang hatid ng kalinga at serbisyong pangkalusugan saanmang sulok ng bansa,” DOH Officer-in-Charge Maria Rosario Vergeire said. —LBG, GMA News