DBM OKs P 45.7B to fight coronavirus
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has approved the release of P45.717 billion to fund the efforts of the Department of Health (DOH) to combat the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
President Rodrigo Duterte made this disclosure in his fifth weekly report to Congress, saying the amount will cover the funding requirements for the efficient implementation of the DOH’s programs and projects to curb the spread of the COVID-19.
“The SARO (special allotment release order) includes the allotment of P1.35 billion for the purchase of 1,500 units of mechanical ventilators to serve the needs of DOH hospitals, selected local government unit hospitals, military hospitals and the Philippine General Hospital,” the report said.
The government has further increased its resources for COVID-19 cases, as 1,101 referral hospitals have been identified all over the Philippines.
This means a total of 7,732 COVID-19 dedicated beds, and 1,381 mechanical ventilators for both private and public hospitals.
This is apart from 18 venues that were previously converted into quarantine centers in recent weeks.
“Additional sites such as the Filinvest Test and Nayong Pilipino are currently being considered,” the President said.
Two additional state universities and colleges have also used their facilities as quarantine facilities or crisis intervention units.
“The number of SUC facilities used as quarantine facilities/CIUs (community isolation unit) is now at 16, while 18 local universities and colleges were also converted as quarantine areas/isolation centers for suspected cases,” the report said.
Hire more health workers
Duterte added that the DBM also gave the greenlight for the DOH’s hiring of 15,757 healthcare workers who will augment the existing staff of priority COVID-19 hospitals.
The DBM has approved a P2.7 billion budget for the emergency hiring of health-care workers on three-month contracts.
The President said this amount was “chargeable against available released allotment of the DOH” under its 2020 budget.
“As of April 22, 2020, the DOH has received requests from seven hospitals for emergency hiring of human resources for health and has approved 701 slots for hiring in five hospitals,” he said.
In his fourth report to Congress last week, the President said the DOH was asking for a P5.2 billion budget for the hiring of 17,757 healthcare professionals.
Of this number, 15,757 are health-care workers, and 2,000 are deputized physicians.
They will be deployed to priority health facilities such as the Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Hospital and Sanitarium, Lung Center of the Philippines, Philippine General Hospital, Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, and other COVID-19 referral hospitals.
Enhanced info system
Meanwhile, the DOH has redeployed 639 nurses to DOH and local hospitals handling COVID-19 cases. Of this number, 192 are in Luzon, and 447 in the Visayas and Mindanao.
In addition, 130 health-care workers have been trained to collect and encode case data, with 14 already deployed to 12 hospitals in Metro Manila.
This figure is expected to increase as 97 healthcare workers were scheduled for deployment to 51 hospitals as of April 24.
The DOH is setting up COVID-19 laboratory equipment which can run 45,000 a day at the Jose B. Lingad Memorial General Hospital, with 19 laboratories accredited to run COVID-19 tests.
The President added that the DOH will deploy its enhanced COVID-19 Information System, which involves an application using smartphones and tablets for case and contact tracing.
The system, developed with technical assistance from the World Health Organization, will undergo pilot testing in the Davao region and Parañaque City.
This is apart from the Department of Science and Technology’s TanodCOVID, a self-reporting application that allows LGUs to access report summaries, visualization, mobile numbers, and addresses of citizens who reported symptoms.
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