Int’l medical journal ‘Lancet’ ranks PH 66th out of 91 countries in fight vs COVID
MANILA, Philippines — The Lancet, an international medical journal, has ranked the Philippines 66th out of 91 countries in terms of suppressing the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
In a study published on September 14, the Lancet COVID-19 Commission noted of President Rodrigo Duterte’s “medical populism” as among the reasons for the country’s dismal ranking.
According to the journal, medical populism is “simplifying the pandemic by downplaying its impacts or touting easy solutions or treatments, spectacularizing their responses to crisis, forging divisions between the ‘people’ and dangerous ‘others,’ and making medical knowledge claims to support the above.”
Aside from Duterte, the study cited as among the example US President Donald Trump and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who the journal claimed, have exhibited medical populism.
The US and Brazil are among the top three nations with the highest COVID-19 cases worldwide.
The Lancet COVID-19 Commission classified the Philippines as having “moderate transmission” with 37.5 new infections and 0.5 new deaths per million per day in August.
The country also conducted 8.2 tests per case daily last month and had an effective reproduction rate of 1.2.
The Commission said 19 countries/territories have suppressed coronavirus transmission last month, 10 of which were in the Asia-Pacific region.
Among these are Taiwan — the topnotcher of the list — Thailand, Vietnam, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Cambodia, China, Myanmar, Malaysia, New Zealand, Uganda, Togo, Pakistan, Latvia, Luxembourg, Uruguay, South Korea, Finland, Cuba, and Rwanda.
The Department of Health (DOH), the lead agency in the country’s fight against COVID-19, is receptive with the study’s findings, adding that the agency will continue to work in spite of the comments and criticisms concerning its handling of the health crisis.
“We always receive naman itong mga ganitong komento ‘no, there are rankings and there are this specific comments. But ang sa amin magtatrabaho lang kami ng tuluy-tuloy [we will just work continuously],” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in an online media forum Wednesday.
“Kami po ay sama samang nagtatrabaho, we are doing a whole-of-nation, whole-of-society approach for this response that we have for COVID-19. Kung ano man po ang magiging komento, tayo po ay patuloy pa rin na magtatrabaho para labanan itong sakit na ito at alagaan ang buong populasyon,” she added.
(We are working together, we are doing a whole-of-nation, whole-of-society approach for this response that we have for COVID-19. Whatever the comments, we will continue to work in fighting this disease and provide care to the whole population.)
The infectious respiratory disease, which was first detected in the Chinese province of Hubei late last year, has so far infected over 31 million people worldwide.
In the Philippines, a total of 291,789 people have been infected as of Tuesday, of which, 230,643 have recovered while 5,049 have died.
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