Philippines upgrades COVID-19 hospital referral system after complaints, says official

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 16 2021 03:15 PM | Updated as of Jun 16 2021 03:38 PM

Philippines upgrades COVID-19 hospital referral system after complaints, says official 1
A health worker in full protective gear is on duty at the Ospital ng Sampaloc, April 30, 2020. The hospital reopened following a temporary shutdown of operations after many of its doctors and nurses tested positive for COVID-19. Jeff Canoy, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA - The national government has improved its centralized hospital occupancy monitoring system for COVID-19 cases, a health official said Wednesday, months after the hotline was flooded with complaints.

The government has hired 80 additional personnel to man the One Hospital Command Center, Health Undersecretary and COVID-19 treatment czar Leopoldo Vega told state television PTV.

"May mga medical doctors kaming nakuha, karamihan ay medical coordinators at saka IT," he said.

(We hired some medical doctors, several medical coordinators and IT personnel.)

"Nag-improve na kami ng telecommunication at mayroon na kaming hotline na ginagamit, 'yung 1555," he said.

(We have improved our telecommunication, and we now have a hotline, which is 1555.)

The monitoring system was also moved to the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC).

"Better na ho 'yung aming facilities, number of personnel at 'yung connectivity," he said.

(Our facilities, our number of personnel and our connectivity are now better.)

"Dahan-dahan namin itong nire-regionalize, kasi alam namin na marami kaming calls outside of Metro Manila," he said.

(We are slowly regionalizing this because we have been receiving a lot of calls from outside of Metro Manila.)

"Malaking breakthrough po itong interconnectivity between sa regions and the national institution, para po mas mabilis ang ating pag-aksyon, lalong lalo na sa pangangailangan ng regional hospitals at medical centers sa mga probinsya," he added.

(The interconnectivity between regions and the national institution is a big breakthrough because it speeds up our actions, especially in responding to the needs of regional hospitals and medical centers in provinces.)

So far, the OHCC has regional operations in Calabarzon, Central Luzon, Southern Mindanao and Caraga, Vega said.

The improvements came about 2 months after the system was "overwhelmed" with distress calls as new COVID-19 cases spiked in the capital region.

Vega said intensive care unit occupancy in Metro Manila has been reduced, but several provinces are still on the brink of having full ICUs.

"'Yung certain provinces, ang kanilang allocated beds ay kokonti lang talaga for critical and severe, kasi kailangan talaga ng resources kapag kailangan mo mag-manage ng critical care," he said.

(There are certain provinces that have few beds allocated for critical and severe cases because you really need resources to manage critical care.)

The national government has deployed equipment and is eyeing to hire more health workers in provinces to address the demand, especially in areas with high COVID-19 cases, he said.

Video courtesy: PTV