Covid Referral Network mulled to integrate PH healthcare system

MANILA – The Department of Health (DOH) is eyeing the expansion of the ONE Hospital Command Center to ONE COVID Referral Network in order to cater to more patients nationwide.

DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III on Friday said the upgrade will integrate the healthcare system – from the lower-level facilities beginning with Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams, isolation treatment facilities, infirmaries, up to district hospitals levels 1 to 3.

“It will require a much more sophisticated navigation system and also coupled with a database management system. Corollary to that, under the Universal Healthcare Law, primary care facilities are being pursued. There is a delay because of the Covid-19 pandemic but this is one of the immediate deliverables under the Universal Healthcare Law,” Duque said in a news release.

He is confident that the establishment of ONE COVID Referral Network will enable the government to better respond to the health needs of Filipinos, particularly in linking Covid-19 patients with healthcare facilities.

Meanwhile, National Task Force (NTF) Against Covid-19 treatment czar, Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega, briefed Congress on the efforts to boost the country’s treatment capacity.

“We have imposed on the public and private hospitals since last year to increase their bed capacity in private to 20 percent, government hospitals to 30 percent,” he said.

“We were able to set up the ONE Hospital Command and we are now trying to improve on this since we are adjusting in terms of the number of personnel and the upgrade of our telecommunication. And we also did augmentation of medicines and medical supplies for Covid-19,” he added.

3 million inoculations weekly

NTF chief implementer and vaccine czar ,Secretary Carlito Galvez, Jr., likewise outlined the government’s multi-pronged strategy to build up vaccine inventory and accelerate the implementation of the immunization program.

“For 2021, our strategy is containment strategy. Meaning, we have to achieve a steady supply of vaccines. We have to strategize our vaccination through the mobilization of national resources, including the national government, the local government units, and the private sector,” Galvez said.

The government, he said, intends to raise the number of inoculations from 500,000 to 1 million per week. This might increase to 2 million to 3 million per week once the country has sufficient vaccine doses by June.

Galvez said 2,497 vaccination sites have already been established across 771 cities and municipalities.

Quezon City Representative (4th District) Helen Tan, chair of the Committee on Health, supported Galvez’s views and said they have already passed the National Health Security Act.

The bill, a merged version of House Bills 6493 and 6081 filed by Tan and Muntinlupa Lone District Representative Ruffy Biazon, respectively, calls for the creation of a Philippine National Health Security Council.

The council will be tasked to craft a national health security plan which, according to Tan in an earlier statement, “captures national priorities for health security, brings sectors together, identifies partners and allocates resources for health security capacity development.” (PR)

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