Association of Medical Doctors of ASIA, founded in 1984, Consultative Status with UN ECOSOC since 1995

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COVID-19 Outbreak: AMDA Philippines’ Activities 4 Activity Summary: AMDA Philippines Free Online Medical Consultations

Publication date:2020-06-12
 

The telemedicine service

In the Philippines, the so-called Enhanced Community Quarantine has been put in place in the Luzon and Cebu regions in which people’s unnecessary outings are restricted. And although the quarantine has been gradually relaxed, the measure is still in place. As a result, the city of Manila which is usually bustling and congested with traffic remains quiet. Except for medical facilities and stores that sell daily necessities, most of businesses have been closed, with public transportation yet to resume service. And for those who do not own a car, the access to medical facilities has been limited. A number of private clinics are being closed for the time being as well.

Under such circumstances, AMDA Philippines offered free online medical consultations from 23 March to 17 April for people with medical and health-related concerns. While the effort was aimed at helping those who felt “left behind” in the lockdown, it also helped prevent the influx of patients to hospitals.
 

How the Telemedicine Service Worked:

First, applicants were asked to register online. The day before the consultation, a coordinator in charge conducted an interview to the applicant, asking questions on one’s medical history, symptoms and other information the doctors or other health professionals needed to know beforehand.

At the actual consultation on the following day, medical specialists were allocated to cater to certain patient needs.

Having doctors, nurses, pharmacists, social workers and counsellors on standby allowed the diagnosis and medical advice to be more precise and coherent. In addition, electronic prescription service and follow-up guidance by pharmacists were also available on request.
 

The telemedicine service

A pharmacist at work


The staff who contributed to the project include medical professionals, students and volunteers from Global Health Pharmacy Network, Brokenshire College Pharmacy Department, Perpetual Help Medical Center Binan, Asian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA) to name a few, which totalled 105 personnel.
 
               AMSA’s med students handling clerical work for the online patient registration


Because the Philippines’ health ministry launched a similar initiative around the clock on 07 April, AMDA Philippines decided to end the service on the 17th. The telemedicine effort ended successfully, handling 973 inquiries as a whole. 
 

Voices of the beneficiaries:

  • “Thank you very much, doctors, for taking the time to help us. I just called in to express my gratitude. The service helped me immensely.”
  • “The doctors and staff were truly impassioned professionals. And although the consultation was offered for free, they were indeed caring. They are my heroes.”
  • “The telemedicine service was absolutely fantastic, especially during the time when people are not being able to receive regular check-ups due to COVID-19. It really was a worthwhile service.”
  • “My worries dispersed. In my case, I was concerned about the health condition of my grandmother. It does take a day to register online and make a reservation. However, if you are not in need of urgent assistance, the service is very helpful. The screening was thoroughly done in order to give precise prescriptions. And every one of the staff members were friendly and knew what they were doing. I am very much grateful for what they provided.”
    •  Philippines
    •  2020
    •  ER & Reconstruction
    •  COVID-19

 
 
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