Threats from kin of COVID-19 patient hamper contact tracing in Bangsamoro
COTABATO CITY –– Medical workers and frontliners conducting contact tracing for possible COVID-19 carriers in Bangsamoro have been receiving threats from relatives of COVID-19 patients, a Bangsamoro health official said.
Dr. Saffrullah Dipatuan, health minister of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), said the health ministry’s efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 had been hampered by harassment and threats from people who refused to cooperate.
“The threats come from relatives and people interviewed by our frontliners. (Those they) asked about possible close-contact with a person found positive of the disease,” said Dipatuan who refused to divulge the names of those involved.
“The families that our frontliners interview usually get angry and threaten to sue them. (Most people) fear they will be stigmatized when health workers come to their houses,” Dipatuan said.
He lamented that most people who had close contact with confirmed COVID-19 patients refused to cooperate with authorities.
He also said that health workers doing contact tracing were now being secured and accompanied by the police with full support from local authorities.
As of Monday, April 27, two more patients were confirmed positive for COVID-19 in Lanao del Sur, raising to 10 the number of confirmed cases in the area.
The latest two patients are getting treatment at Northern Mindanao Medical Center in Cagayan de Oro City.
One of the patients is a senior citizen.
Of the 10 cases listed by health authorities in the area since March, three have died while five have recovered.
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