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AMDA COVID-19 Survey (Sept. 2020) #4: Situation in the Philippines

Publication date:2020-09-16
 
This month, AMDA Headquarters has been conducting a survey targeting AMDA chapters in assessing the COVID-19 situation in each country. The results will be shared on this webpage from time to time.
 
  • Date: September 2, 2020
  • Name of your chapter: AMDA Philippines
  • Total cases in your country (until 1 September 2020): 224,264
  • Active cases (as of 1 September 2020): 62,655
  • Number of deaths: 3,597
  • Number of patients recovered: 158,012
 

Dr. Navarro
AMDA Philippines

Lockdown, restrictions and other measures by the government:

The Philippines is one of the countries which first banned flights from Hubei and China. The travel ban started last January 31 for the province of Hubei and was expanded to mainland China until February 02. We were also one of the first countries to implement a “lockdown” which was called “enhanced community quarantine” or ECQ. The ECQ in Metro Manila, the capital region, was implemented starting from March 15 while the rest of Luzon Island had an ECQ starting from March 17.

Currently, face masks and face shields are now commonplace due to several laws and policies pushing for it in different situations. The Philippines’ situation is unique compared to other countries since it has some of the most densely-populated cities in the world (four cities in the top 10 and eleven cities in the top 50). There are also a lot of overseas Filipinos. Around ten percent of the economy is dependent on remittances from overseas Filipino workers. This situation is managed by the government through a series of programs providing flights to returning Filipinos and a “Hatid Probinsiya” program which provides transportation to people from Metro Manila to return to their home provinces. These programs have been a source of some controversy since these individuals are a source of infection especially when not handled properly.

 

How is your country’s medical system responding? :

Any country’s health system is overwhelmed right now and the Philippines is not an exception. Nonetheless, the system has greatly improved since the pandemic started. Individuals tested daily for COVID-19 are now almost 40,000. This has resulted to a decrease in the positivity rate from a high of 23.8% as of April 4 to the current positivity rate of 10.6%. We now have 107 testing labs capable of doing COVID-19 tests. This is a far cry from where we started when all samples were tested only in one laboratory, the Research Institute of Tropical Medicine (RITM).

Unfortunately, the current occupancy rate of hospitals in Metro Manila is, in the danger zone, at 69.2%. At the national level, the occupancy rate is 47.5% which is in the warning zone. Several isolation facilities were also made available particularly from converted sports facilities and classrooms

 

Your chapter’s activities against COVID-19 (including future plans):

Delivering PPE to medical professionals

As soon as the lockdown was implemented realizing the urgency to help our healthcare professionals, AMDA Philippines initiated donation activities of  PPE (masks, face shields, suits, acrylic box) within Metro Manila and provinces (Cavite, Laguna, Bicol and Marawi) with assistance from AMDA International and other partner organizations.

AMDA Philippines also offered free online medical consultations from March 23 to April 17 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. The telemedicine effort ended successfully, handling 973 calls/inquiries during the entire duration.

 

AMDA Philippines’ Dr. Erica
providing online consultations

Our chapter has conducted a series of webinars starting from May 30 to June 27 where we discussed topics that may help individuals understand the current COVID-19 situation. Our topics include: telemedicine, return to the workplace, perspectives of a COVID-19 survivor, mental health, and vaccines. The webinars were open to lay persons, students and health professionals.
 
    •  Philippines
    •  2020
    •  COVID-19

 
 
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