LEGAZPI, Philippines – In an effort to provide personal protective equipment (PPEs) for the hospitals’ 500 frontliners, physicians from the Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital (BRTTH) in Albay launched a fundraiser on Sunday, March 22, dubbed “Tarabangan para sa frontliners (Help for the frontliners).” (READ: LIST: How to help healthcare workers, frontliners during coronavirus pandemic)
The fundraiser asks Bicolanos to each donate a set amount of P850 for the purchase of PPEs and other vital medical equipment for the under-equipped BRTTH – one of 3 referral hospitals in the region tapped by the Department of Health to handle patients with COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
“By saving our frontliners, we save our families and our community,” Dr Eric Raborar, chief of BRTTH’s Health Emergency Management Staff (HEMS), posted on his Facebook wall in reference to the campaign.
“Please share po. Maraming salamat sa tabang nindo! Kaya ta ini ma abot!!! Tarabangan sana! (Please share. Thank you for your help! We can make it as long as we help each other!)” he wrote.
In an update Sunday evening, just 12 hours since the campaign began, Raborar’s daughter Gabrielle Faye posted on Facebook that they had reached their P625,000 target.
“We have reached our target, and more! Now, we can buy more than just PPEs but also masks and shoe covers. Maraming salamat po sa pagtabang nindo! (Thank you for your help)!” she wrote.
The campaign is still ongoing to ensure there are enough funds for the frontliners’ future needs. (READ: Left in the dark: Little protection for government’s coronavirus frontliners)
Call for government funding
Meanwhile, Albay 2nd District Representative Joey Sarte Salceda said that Philhealth Vice President Orlando Iñigo will release a total of P254 million in funds on Monday, March 23 to the following hospitals:
- P102 million for BRTTH
- P120 million for Bicol Medical Center
- P22 million for Josefina Belmonte Duram Memorial Hospital
- P10 million for Bicol Region General Hospital and Geriatric Medical Center
The funds are for the hospitals’ needs in general, but can be used specifically for addressing coronavirus frontliners’ needs.
Salceda also recommended that the coronavirus Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) conduct a headcount of all government doctors nationwide, especially those in regions not yet affected by the virus, including doctors to the barrios. (READ: Braving a pandemic: Frontliners battle fear to confront the novel coronavirus)
“Start talking to medical societies and recruit for volunteers from areas not yet affected. This will help us with our increasing manpower needs. That include nurses and paramedical people,” the lawmaker said.
He asked that field hospitals be set up as well.
“Look for areas where we can set up field hospitals. Call all businesses that sell ventilators, IVs, masks, PPEs, and make an inventory for government to purchase. Have a meeting with industries, clothing companies that can make gloves, gowns, masks, and ask them to increase their production through 24-hour operations,” he said.
As of Monday, the Philippines has 462 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, with 33 deaths and 18 recoveries.
The global death toll has reached 15,189, with 5,476 of the fatalities in Italy and 3,270 in China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau). The number of cases worldwide has risen to 341,300, with 81,093 cases in China and 59,138 cases in Italy. The virus has spread to 174 countries. – Rappler.com