MANILA - The Quezon City government has started training village health workers as local first responders in handling contagious illnesses like the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Members of the Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams (BHERT) from 20 villages were taught how to properly wear personal protective equipment (PPEs) to prevent the risk of infection.
"Wearing PPEs involves a tedious process to make sure that the responder is fully protected from possible contamination,” said city epidemiologist Dr. Rolando Cruz.
Amid the global outbreak of the novel coronavirus, city mayor Joy Belmonte ordered the distribution of PPE kits to barangays.
Each PPE kit contains anti-fog goggles, disposable latex gloves, a disposable plastic shoe cover, a disposable coverall, a disposable surgical gown, an N95 face mask, a disposable surgical mask and a disposable cap.
The trainings were conducted after Interior Secretary Eduardo Año issued a memorandum ordering local chief executives to activate BHERTs to address the COVID-19 outbreak.
The DILG circular tasks BHERTs to visit the homes of persons who came from countries affected by the outbreak and list down names of persons that the traveler had contact with.
BHERTs are instructed to immediately isolate a suspected coronavirus carrier in a room away from family members and contact local authorities in transporting them to the nearest healthcare facility equipped to handle such cases.
For Cruz, communities should know how to properly respond to public health emergencies.
"Sa lahat ng health workers, parehas tayo magtulungan at gawing ligtas at maayos ang mga barangay. Trust the right information para sa ating mga nasasakupan sakaling maging community ang transmission ng COVID,” he said.
(To all health workers, let's work together and make our villages safe. Trust the right information in case the COVID transmission becomes local.)
The novel coronavirus, believed to have originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan, has infected more than 83,000 people all over the world, according to data from the World Health Organization (WHO).
The fast-spreading illness also killed more than 2,800 people, majority in China.
In the Philippines, health authorities were monitoring 30 people suspected of carrying the strain of COVID-19 as of Friday. Three Chinese nationals who had traveled to the Philippines were earlier confirmed to have contracted the disease, one of whom died.