Call for Urgent Unified Coordinated Action vs Covid-19: #PreventProtectHeal

Dok Eddie Dorotan | Covid19 Action Network (#weCAN!) | April 3, 2020

We are now into the 3rd week since Lockdown. To be exact, we are on Day 20 of Lockdown since March 15.

To date, 136 have died and 3,018 have been detected Covid+. This is a 12-fold rise in deaths (from 11) and 21-fold rise in positive cases (from 140) in just 20 days.

Seventeen (17) fellow doctors – many I personally know – have fallen. Nakakalungkot.

These figures are just the tip of the iceberg. In the following weeks, we will see more and more cases detected and more deaths. We can even go into deeper disaster if we don’t get our acts together NOW.

In this time of great uncertainties brought about by the disruptive Covid19, we need adaptive responses to the challenges that don’t have easy answers.

We recommend the following 6-point action:

  1. Don’t lift the lockdown until cases go down.

This may last for another 1-2months. We have to prevent the spread of the virus. Stay home. No mass gathering. Social distancing. Wear mask. Wash hand. But let the supply chain flow unhampered.

Consider the following criteria in lifting or modifying the Lockdown: Sharp reduction of cases as demonstrated by a consistent downward Covid infection slope; Increase capacity and ability of medical facilities to treat all patients, particularly those hospitalized which means having adequate PPEs, ventilators, testing kits, and the like; Testing of all people with Covid-19 symptoms; Effective monitoring and contact tracing Relevant information outside Luzon lockdown

  1. Test Test Test!

We need to know where the enemy is. Testing is Key! Given the limited availability of the testing kits, let us prioritize testing the (1) symptomatics with co-morbidities, (2) those in contact with positive case, (3) frontline health workers.

  1. Heal the Sick

For moderate to severe Covid+ : admit to dedicated Covid hospitals; don’t mix Covid with non-Covid cases

For PUM, PUI, mild Covid+ : home quarantine if they have enough safe spaces; for those without sufficient spaces at home, bring to community quarantine facilities (e.g. Ultra, PICC, World Trade Center) of the national government or to the community quarantine facilities of LGUs. Biosafety has to be in place.

  1. Protect the Health Workers

Many of our health workers get infected and die because they are not protected enough. Provide them with necessary personal protective equipment (PPEs) like gowns, cover-all, glasses, masks, gloves. They are sacrificing their lives so that others will live. Support them with food and prayers, too.

  1. Strengthen the frontlines through improved community management

Our first line of defense is not the hospital care. It is our last defense.

Our first line of defense is at the individual level, at our homes, in our communities and LGUs with our barangay health workers, our city/municipal/provincial health workers.

We need to reorganize our health system from a patient-centered model of care to a community system approach that offers solutions for the entire population, rich and poor, rural and urban.

  1. Take care of the poor and the vulnerable

The rich can take care of themselves during lockdown, but what about the poor, the unemployed and the vulnerable sector? Let us roll out cash transfers, food packages, health benefits, and others, from all corners: national and local government, private sector and civil society. This is the time to take care more of our brothers and sisters who have less in life.

To do all of the above things, we need to unite, cooperate, and collaborate. Do not be distracted with petty ramblings, fake news, politicking. We are not the enemy. Our common enemy is the Covid19!

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