Magalong admits gov’t contact tracing efforts need improvement
MANILA, Philippines — Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong, also the country’s contact tracing czar, admitted on Tuesday that the government’s contact tracing efforts are not up to par.
He agreed that the country’s contact tracing activities are the “weakest point” of the government’s response against COVID-19, echoing the earlier sentiment of Malacañang.
“Talagang mababa iyong ating contact tracing efficiency ratio despite the fact na mayroon tayong mga series capacity building na nagawa na,” he said in a briefing.
(Even though we have capacity building in place, our contact tracing performance is poor.)
He attributed the low-contact tracing efficiency ratio to the lack of supervision, data collection system issues, and overwhelmed contact tracers.
To address this, Magalong said the national government would again “capacitate” local government units (LGUs) to improve their contact tracing efforts.
He said they are working with the Department of Interior and Local Government and the World Health Organization on this.
“We had a series of meeting with the local government academy. Magkakaroon uli tayo ng re-capacitating ng ating mga LGU,” he said.
(We will have a recapacitating of LGUs)
“Ngayon kinu-consolidate na ng ating DILG iyong mga listahan ng local government na kailangan nila ng tulong at the same time iyong mga local government na nagbu-volunteer na sana mabigyan uli sila ng mentoring,” he added.
(The DILG is currently consolidating the list of LGUs who need help as well as those localities who volunteered that they need mentoring.)
According to Magalong, the instructions for contract tracing for second and third-generation contacts of COVID-19 cases will be included in the manual distributed to LGUs.
He said that they are working with the WHO for these new guidelines.
Magalong lamented how the national contact tracing efficiency ratio showed one contact tracer for every seven identified contacts of COVID-19 case. The idea ratio for the urban setting is 1:30 to 37, while for rural area is 1:25 to 30.