WHO gives protective equipment for Filipino health workers

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 13 2020 07:48 PM

MANILA – The World Health Organization on Friday announced that it has donated protective equipment for Filipino health workers amid the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

“WHO handed more than 2,000 kilos of personal protective equipment (PPE) sets to @DOHgovph today,” the WHO Philippines said on Twitter.

“The PPE sets, composed of gowns, gloves, masks, goggles, and alcohol-based handrubs, will support health workers in the clinical management for 200 severe patients for #COVID19PH,” it added in a post that showed Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and WHO Representative to the Philippines Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe in front of the boxes of equipment.

“Health workers are the heroes of this #COVID19 response,” Abeyasinghe was quoted saying. “It is crucial that we protect them so they can continue providing much-needed care to the patients."

Abeyasinghe thanked Filipino health workers and the Department of Health.

There has been a shortage of personal protective equipment since the surge of the COVID-19 outbreak.

A health official on Wednesday said that the government has asked a manufacturer to double its face mask allocation for the Philippines amid a supply shortage.

“There is one manufacturer in Bataan that allocated 500,000 face masks per week for the local market before they export. However, it seems that is not enough so (government) is asking them to double the supply,” Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo said during a press briefing.

He said he learned about this during a meeting with the Department of Trade and Industry the other week.

“It seems that the discussion is favorable for the DTI,” Domingo said.

Domingo explained that the government is purchasing 500,000 face masks a week but private hospitals are having a hard time securing their supplies.

Pharmacies and medical supply stores around Metro Manila have ran out of various kinds of face masks as Filipinos started panic buying face masks — first for the Taal volcano eruption and now with the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Department of Health has previously warned the public that face masks are for health workers and those who are immunocompromised. The Health Secretary himself said the able-bodied Filipinos should simply observe proper hygiene such as regular handwashing.