PH forms rapid response teams vs Ebola

By Mayen Jaymalin, The Philippine Star

Posted at Nov 03 2014 09:28 AM | Updated as of Nov 03 2014 05:28 PM

MANILA - Teams of doctors and health workers are ready for immediate deployment to treat Ebola patients in far-flung areas in the country.

Department of Health (DOH) spokesman Dr. Lyndon Lee Suy said the government has formed rapid response teams composed of health workers specially trained to prevent the spread of the disease.

“We have three rapid response teams composed of two doctors, a medical technologist and nurses, and they would be deployed to the provinces where there will be a possible case of Ebola,” Lee Suy said.

The rapid response teams will guide other health workers in the area on how to respond to Ebola.

The government decided to form rapid response teams to limit the movement of Ebola patients “so we could also limit the possible transmission of infection,” Lee Suy said.

Dr. Julie Hall, World Health Organization (WHO) country representative, said the teams would still undergo more comprehensive training than other health workers.

A group of 122 doctors from DOH-retained hospitals have completed a specialized training on Ebola prevention, while health workers from private hospitals nationwide will start a similar training today.

Hall also said there is no need to enforce a mandatory quarantine of returning Filipino workers or other travelers since Ebola is not infectious until patients develop fever. People from Ebola-affected countries just need to notify the DOH and undergo voluntary quarantine or observe their health condition for 21 days.

So far, 126 Filipino workers have returned from Ebola-affected countries and they are free from the deadly disease, Lee Suy said.

Repatriation eyed

At this time, the government is preparing for the possible return of all Filipino workers from Ebola-affected countries in West Africa.

Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said the Department of Labor and Employment is just waiting for the notification from the DOH before deciding on the repatriation of Filipino workers from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

The DOH is expected to come out with the recommendation next week.

The government is also requiring clearance for Filipino workers returning from West Africa and for those who will be going back to Ebola-affected countries.

Baldoz said the government only allows the contract processing and deployment of returning Filipino workers who have the required clearance from the DOH.

She gave assurance that alternative employment is available for Filipino workers who would not be able to return to West Africa. – With Ding Cervantes

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