MANILA - The Philippine Medical Association is getting for now only 3,000 out of the 60,000 sets of personal protective equipment (PPE) it has ordered for its members across the country who serve on the front line in the battle against the coronavirus outbreak, an official of the group said Wednesday afternoon.
"Ang naipon na order ng Philippine Medical Association ay 60,000 pieces. Ang makukuha pa lang namin, 3,000," Dr. Benito Atienza, vice president of the association, told radio DZMM.
(The order collated by the Philippine Medical Association is for 60,000 pieces. What we will be getting for now is 3,000.)
Atienza said this problem of lack in medical supplies is prevalent now in many hospitals, aside from the reduced manpower among health practitioners as some of them, including him, have to undergo quarantine after getting exposed to COVID-19 patients.
He said the supplier the group is talking to for the PPEs is prioritizing another buyer and has not given a timeline as to when it can deliver.
"Ang mga taga-Mindanao, naghihintay na. Although sa Mindanao at Visayas, kakaunti pa yung ating kaso ng nag-positive sa COVID. (Pero) expect natin na tataas 'yan kasi marami ng testing kits na dumating," he said.
(Those in Mindanao are already waiting for it. Although, in Mindanao and the Visayas, there are a only few positive COVID cases for now. But we can expect it to increase because there are already many testing kits that have arrived.)
As many health practitioners undergo self-quarantine, Atienza shared they are taking measures to help reduce the number of people going to health facilities.
"Iniisip naming magkaroon ng triage at telekonsulta," he said.
(We're considering setting up a triage, and doing a tele-consult.)
In a televised briefing late Wednesday afternoon, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the health department gave out PPEs to 37 health facilities the other day.
The beneficiaries include hospitals in Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, Apayao, Cordillera (region), Calabarzon (region), and Sorsogon, she said.
The health department distributed also 3,800 test kits to its identified subnational laboratories for COVID-19 testing. The kits were those from the World Health Organization (1,300), China (2,000), and a foundation in South Korea (500).
Vergeire said the government currently has 4,167 testing kits from China that can conduct 100,000 tests, and which are currently being distributed to accredited laboratories.
The government received 5,000 test kits more from Singapore today, she said, but are still up for validation before these can be distributed to the subnational laboratories.
The Philippines, as of Wednesday, has confirmed 636 COVID-19 cases, including 38 deaths and 26 recoveries.