Global shortage of PPEs hampers DOH purchase of enough supplies: official

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 23 2020 01:54 PM

MANILA — With hospitals like the Lung Center of the Philippines appealing for donations of personal protective equipment, people have been questioning what has happened to the budget of the Department of Health.

“We’ve read about how people are asking why the DOH is not buying when we have a large budget. Even if we want to buy now, we cannot buy any, so we are relying on donations for now,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a briefing Monday.

“We want to inform our fellow Filipinos that there is a global shortage of personal protective equipment,” she said, attributing the situation to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“That is why we are studying how to rationally allocate the donations we are receiving to those who need it.”

On Monday, the Lung Center of the Philippines asked for donations of PPE suits as, according to a hospital official, their authorized suppliers have run out of supplies. That is why they are setting up a private fund to buy PPE suits from other suppliers.

The official admitted that the cost of suits in the black market rose to P3,000 per piece, from just P500 before COVID-19 became a pandemic.