P11.7B needed for 3 months for contact tracers, says DOH
MANILA, Philippines — The government would need to shell out a whopping total of P11.7 billion budget for three months for the hiring of contact tracers to achieve the ideal ratio of one contact tracer per 800 people.
Contact tracers are health workers tasked with tracking down the close contacts of people who have tested positive for coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
“Noong cinompute namin ito, nakita natin na nangangailangan tayo ng P11.7 billion in 3 months (When we computed this, we saw that we would need P11.7 billion in 3 months),” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire told reporters in an online media forum Thursday.
Earlier, the Department of Health (DOH) said it is still in need of more than 95,000 contact tracers.
Vergeire said that there are already 38,000 contact tracers in the country, but government is further eyeing to increase this to more than 120,000 to achieve the 1:800 ratio.
The DOH is already working with the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on the hiring of contact tracers, Vergeire said.
“We are expecting that DILG will be the ones to manage this para ‘yung mga local government units, sila ang mag-hire, sila ang magte-train, sila ang gagamit nitong contact tracers (We are expecting that DILG will be the ones to manage this so the LGUs will hire, train, and utilize the contact tracers),” she said.
Dr. Socorro Escalante, World Health Organization (WHO) acting representative, earlier said the DOH’s contact tracing efforts is slow.
Hiring contact tracers “en masse” was one of the recommendations made by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez to President Rodrigo Duterte as a safeguard during the gradual easing of lockdown measures to revive the devastated economy.
On Wednesday, the Philippines breached the 15,000-mark of confirmed COVID-19 cases, with over 900 deaths and 3,500 recoveries.
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