Health Workers Are Running Low on PPEs. Here's How You Can Donate
The OVP is also sending food and hygiene kits to disadvantaged communities.
(SPOT.ph) On April 15, Thursday, the Philippines breached the 900,000 mark in the number of COVID-19 cases. This is more than a year after the first case of transmission was reported in the country, and after a series of back-and-forths in quarantine measures (and acronyms). Local government units and private entities are doing their best to curb the spread of the virus; on the national level, the Office of the Vice President launched a number of programs—from free doctor's consultations to targeted testing. If you're looking to contribute something yourself, their office is in great need of medical supplies.
"This morning, we checked our available supplies and I was informed that our medical supplies are already dwindling. Most of what we have now have been allocated to hospitals and LGUs sending requests. We have set aside funds from our budget for this purpose and we have been spending this already since the surge started. We would be able to help more with your in-kind donations," Vice President Leni Robredo said in a Facebook post on March 31.
Concerned citizens may send face masks (N95s, KN95s, surgical masks), PPEs (gowns or bunny suits, head cover, shoe cover, gloves), alcohol, and disinfectant. They're also providing food and hygiene kits to disadvantaged communities, so supplies of rice, non-perishable food items, and toiletries would be very much appreciated.
"Those who are asking if they can send cash, huwag po muna. OVP does not want to receive and handle cash donations," Robredo explained. Kaya Natin Movement for Good Governance and Ethical Leadership, which is the Office of the Vice President's (OVP) partner for donation drives, is still in the process of liquidating and auditing all the cash donations from 2020.
The OVP launched a free mobile antigen swab-testing service to aid local government units in Metro Manila called "Swab Cab" on March 30. Their pilot run from March 30 to April 6 was in Malabon City, where they found that a lot of infected individuals are asymptomatic (and therefore, just going around without them knowing that they've been transmitting the virus). As an incentive, Robredo's team gave rice to anyone getting tested, then provided a two-week supply of food to the family should the individual turn out to be positive. The infected individuals were then sent to isolation facilities, which the local government unit provided. SMART Communications on April 15 donated free WiFi connection to the quarantine center in Malabon. Robredo's office is looking to partner with other cities for this project.
"We can go to any city as long as the LGU is willing to partner with us," she said in an interview with ANC on April 9. The OVP can provide the cabs, swabbers, antigen testing kits, COVID-19 kits, and supplies like tents and beddings for the isolation facilities, which the LGU should have.
On April 7, the OVP launched Bayanihan E-Konsulta, which "is meant to serve COVID or non-COVID patients who might not need hospitalization but would need to talk to a doctor to seek medical advice." They also send out COVID Care Kits, each including a thermometer, oxymeter, disinfectants, and medicine, to COVID-19 patients in home quarantine. On April 14, they rolled out a mobile laboratory for patients needing antigen testing, complete blood count, and X-ray.
"Layon ng mobile laboratory na maiwasan nang magpunta pa sa ibang facilities ang mga pasyente, lalo na kung probable o confirmed na COVID-positive ito. Bilang dagdag pag-iingat, bawat pasyente ay sinundo ng ambulasya," Robredo explained in a post.
Most of the individuals, from doctors to assistants, in these projects are volunteers. Sometimes, Robredo herself acts as a chat agent for their Bayanihan E-Konsulta patients, the number of which is increasing by the minute.
Aside from medical supplies, it looks like the OVP staff could also use food deliveries and gestures of encouragement: two volunteer doctors sent them lunch on Thursday.
"Two of our volunteer doctors just sent us food now. Grabe!! Dapat yata kami yung nagpapadala sa inyo. Kayo na yung naiistorbo namin, kami pa pinapadalhan nyo ng pagkain. Sharing these with our hardworking staff who never had a day of rest since the start of the pandemic," Robredo shared in a post.
For updates and announcements or to send donations their way, you can follow VP Leni Robredo on Facebook. You can also coordinate with KD Montenegro, Partnerships Officer for Angat Buhay at the Office of the President, through 0917-310-3645.