MANILA (UPDATE) - The national government is developing a COVID-19 home care package for Filipinos to help decongest hospitals, especially in the capital region, a Health official said Monday.
The Office of the President has instructed the Department of Health (DOH) to craft a home care package immediately, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire told ANC's Headstart.
"Itong home care package na immediate na utos sa atin, it will include the basics: mga vitamins, mga paracetamol," she said.
(These home care packages will include the basics: vitamins, paracetamol.)
"Para 'yung mga kababayan natin, if they are asked to stay home, they are confident kasi they have this kit for example kung saan nandiyan na yung mga iinumin mo and may mga guidance na sa ating mga doctor through telemedicine," she said.
(This can make our countrymen more confident if they are asked to stay at home because they have this kit containing medicine and instructions from doctors through telemedicine.)
Health officials are still discussing whether or not antibiotics should be included in these home care packages, Vergeire said.
"It's going to be contentious especially to our clinicians if we are going to put antibiotics already inside that kit," she said.
"Nire-regulate natin dito 'yung pag gamit ng antibiotics because we are seeing resistance kasi gumagamit tayo maya't maya," she said.
(We are regulating the use of antiobiotics because we are seeing resistance as people tend to take it often.)
While the DOH can easily procure the kits, the agency is still finalizing details on how the public can pay for teleconsultation fees, the Undersecretary said.
"Immediately po ang utos sa atin para mapatupad. Inaayos lang po natin 'yung ating financing mechanism," she said, noting that it will likely be covered by the Philippine Health Insurance Corp (PhilHealth).
"We need the totality of the whole package because it's not just going to be the kits. There will be telemedicine consultations, there would be navigations, referral centers so kailangan kumpleto po (so it needs to be complete)."
The DOH is also scheduled to meet with Metro Manila mayors to discuss the government's home care package for COVID-19 patients, Vergeire said.
"Local governments are the navigators. They navigate if a person should go to a hospital or stay at home, but they have to enable," she said.
"Kailangan mayroon silang suporta sa tao kung siya ay magho-home quarantine, kung siya ay pupunta sa ospital. So this is what we are trying to work on right now," she said.
(They need to provide support if a person is going to be asked to home quarantine or be confined in a hospital.)
Private hospitals began offering COVID-19 home care packages earlier this year as the number of new cases in the country spiked again, a year after the virus was first detected in the Philippines.
Earlier this month, the Office of the Vice President began a similar initiative called the Bayanihan e-Konsulta, which provides free medical support and home care kits for COVID-19 patients who are recuperating at home.
Vice President Leni Robredo's home care kits contain medicine, medical supplies, a monitoring sheet, and instructions of home care "per doctors' recommendation."
Online consultations may be booked by sending a message to Bayanihan e-Konsulta on Facebook.