Robredo may tweak ‘Bayanihan E-Konsulta’ to suit communities, post-COVID scenario
MANILA, Philippines — Outgoing Vice President Leni Robredo is looking at the possibility of adjusting the telemedicine consultation platform, Bayanihan E-Konsulta, to make it more suitable for communities as she and her office transition to private advocacy.
Robredo during Monday’s town hall meeting and thanksgiving event for members and volunteers of the Bayanihan E-Konsulta team said she hopes they can develop something like the telemedicine channel within the realm of the non-government, volunteer organization that she plans to create.
The Vice President in the past said she plans to continue helping communities after her term ends on June 30, through the proposed “Angat Buhay NGO.”
“And I can only hope na moving forward, baka puwede pa tayong mag-develop ng something like Bayanihan E-Konsulta. In our localities, baka puwede nating i-tweak na mas bagay siya moving forward na kahit wala nang COVID puwede nating gawin,” Robredo told the team members.
(And I can only hope that moving forward, maybe we can develop something like Bayanihan E-Konsulta. In our localities, maybe we can tweak it to make it more suitable to communities moving forward, even if we do not have COVID-19 to monitor.)
“Ang sabi ko lang – sorry sinabi ko sa inyo pero ang sabi ko kay USec. Boyet (Philip Dy), ayaw kong manggaling ito sa akin kasi baka asking too much na ako sa inyo. Pero I think this is the most opportune time just to float the idea na ang Angat Buhay ay nandiyan pa rin. Kami ay nandito pa rin,” she added.
(What I said – sorry I am not telling you this but I told USec. Boyet, I don’t want to say this because I may be asking too much from you. But I think this is the most opportune time just to float the idea that the Angat Buhay would still be there. We would still be here.)
Robredo admitted though that the new version of the Bayanihan E-Konsulta may be significantly smaller than what she and the Office of the Vice President initiated, as they would have to rely more on volunteers than actual government staffers.
She even jokingly said that she was pressuring volunteers to help again. But she stressed that the success of the program only shows how much volunteerism can achieve even in small spaces.
“Siguro hindi na gano’n karami ‘yung OVP people who will be onboard unless mag-volunteer pa rin sila. Parang pine-pressure ko kayong mag-volunteer. Hindi naman, hindi naman ako namemressure,” Robredo said in jest.
(Maybe those who would be on board may not be as big as the OVP unless they volunteer again. It seems like I am pressuring all of you to volunteer. No, I am not pressuring anyone.)
“Pero ‘di ba, gusto nating ipakita na with the limited space given to us, kaya natin ma-maximize ‘yung space na ‘yun And tayo ‘yung maging modelo para ipakita sa tao na basta nagkakaisa tayo sa isang bagay na makabuluhan, marami tayong good na magagawa sa community,” she added.
(But isn’t it that we want to show that even with the limited space given to us, we can maximize this space. We were the model to show to the people that as long as we are united for a good cause, we can be of help to the community.)
The Office of the Vice President (OVP) last May 23 announced it is stopping the operations of Bayahnihan E-Konsulta, the channel used by suspected COVID-19 patients to avail of remote care, to give way to transition talks with the incoming Vice President.
The Bayanihan E-Konsulta, which Robredo said was able to assist over 58,000 COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients, has been hailed for helping manage hospital congestion during several infection surges experienced by the country. She has thanked volunteers since, saying the program would not be possible without their help.
Robredo previously said that when they launched the program in April 2021 – during the time when the country was facing a COVID-19 surge – they were only thinking of filling the gaps in the national government. They did not expect it to be one of the country’s primary telemedicine channels.
This was made possible by doctors who do triage — segregating patients and assessing if they need hospital care, which limits the number of people visiting healthcare institutions.
The OVP also provided positive COVID-19 patients with medical kits that included a number of medicines and important health gadgets like oximeters and thermometers. Patients were also regularly monitored by chat agents who are composed of volunteer medical practitioners.
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