Ex-health chief seeks nationwide 'health promotion,' lifting of lockdowns

Gillan Ropero, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 21 2020 11:32 AM

People pass by an intersection with a religious statue on Anonas Street in Quezon City on September 04, 2020. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - A former health secretary said Monday he supports the lifting of lockdowns and urged government to launch health promotion campaigns in the community level to prevent COVID-19 transmission.

Sleeping for 8 hours, getting at least 30 minutes of exercise, and eating vegetables are just as important as handwashing and wearing of face masks and face shield, according to Dr. Jaime Galvez Tan.

"Ang pagpapalaganap ng kalusugan at pagpapanatili ng kaginhawaan, napakahalaga nito hindi lang lift the lockdown," he told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.

(Promoting health is very important, not just lifting the lockdown.)

"Marami po ito, ito ang tinatawag kong resetang walang gastos. Gusto natin pambansa ilulunsad ito."

(There are many advise, what I call prescriptions without cost. We would like this to be launched nationwide.

The Concerned Doctors and Citizens of the Philippines (CDC-PH) last week launched the #FlattenTheFear campaign which urges government to end lockdowns.

"Kailangan kaalinsabay dito ang paglunsad ng health promotion campaigns sa mga barangay, all the 42,000 barangays kasi kailangan natin ng pag-iwas ng sakit sa barangay at home level," Galvez Tan said.

(This needs to be hand-in-hand with health promotion campaigns in all 42,000 barangays because we need to prevent the disease in the barangay and home level.)

Watch more in iWantTFC

The former health chief cited as examples the Philippines' Southeast Asian neighbors Vietnam, Thailand, and Malaysia that did not impose lockdowns for very long.

"Ang ginawa ng mga bansang ito ay tanggalin ang hospital oriented na strategy to a community-based strategy. Tayo masyado tayong nakatutok sa ospital pero ang totoo ang transmission ng COVID ay nasa community," he said.

(These countries shifted from a hospital-oriented strategy to a community-based strategy. We're too focused on hospitals but transmission happens in the community.)

"Ang community di natin binibigyan ng kapangyarihan. Nandyan po talaga ang community empowerment, mobilization na siya po talagang makakapigil sa transmission ng COVID."

(We need to give power to the community. We need to empower, mobilize them to prevent COVID transmission.)

Government in August launched a community-based management of the virus as local transmissions rose due to virus patients being quarantined inside their homes instead of isolation facilities.

The Philippines as of Sunday reported 286,743 cases of COVID-19, with 229,865 recoveries and 4,984 deaths.