Lack of health workers in hospitals, labs is ‘biggest challenge’ in COVID-19 response — testing czar
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines’ may have the highest COVID-19 testing capacity in Southeast Asia, but even the country’s testing czar would admit that it is still not enough to isolate and trace infected individuals nationwide.
COVID-19 testing czar Vince Dizon said on Friday that the testing for the virus is such a tedious process, which has been further complicated by the country’s enormous population.
“Ang testing of COVID-19 is such a complicated process, lalo na yung PCR (Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction or swab test). Unang-una, 30,000 to 35,000 tayo per day. That is double for most of our Asian neighbors, at least, but it is still not enough kasi ang dami natin. We are a country of more than a 100 million people,” Dizon said during a press conference at Manuel Quezon University when asked about improvements for testing in the country.
(COVID-19 testing is a complicated process especially the PCR. First and foremost, we have 30,000 to 35,000 tests a day, that is double for most of our Asian neighbors at least, but it is still not enough because of our population. We are a country of more than a 100 million people.)
On Thursday, the Department of Health said the Philippines has the highest testing capacity in Southeast Asia with a total of 1,643,539 individuals tested for the coronavirus disease. This means an average of 28,938 tests per day were conducted within the last seven days.
The DOH pointed out that in Indonesia, 908,000 individuals or an average of 14,291 per day within the seven days were tested.
But for Dizon, the “biggest challenge in the Philippines” is the lack of health workers in laboratories and hospitals.
He reiterated that the DOH committed to recruit and hire more medical workers in August to assist in testing and treatment of COVID-19 patients.
“Ngayon nag-commit ang DOH na mag-hire ng health care workers within the month of August, para suportahan ang nurses, ang doctors, ang medical workers pati ang ating medical technologists kasi marami sa kanila nagkakasakit na, pagod na, so kailangan natin sila tulungan,” Dizon said.
(The DOH is committed to hire health care workers within the month of August, to support nurses, doctors, medical workers and medical technologists because many are getting sick and tired so we have to help them.)
To date, the Philippines documented 119,460 total cases of COVID-19 including 66,837 recoveries and 2,150 deaths.
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.