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MANILA, Philippines – Former vice president Leni Robredo’s highly praised free telemedicine service Bayanihan E-Konsulta will resume operations on Monday, July 25, according to her Angat Buhay nongovernmental organization.
The resumption of the free teleconsult services comes as the Philippines experiences a new surge in COVID-19 cases. July 25 is also the day President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. delivers his first State of the Nation Address.
Bayanihan E-Konsulta will operate Mondays to Fridays, from 8 am to 4 pm, or whenever the patient cap of 150 is reached. Individuals can call in for either consultation on COVID-19 or a general checkup.
Persons who are symptomatic for up to three days and are 60 years old and above, have comorbidities, or are immunosuppressed will get free care kits. Individuals who are symptomatic and in isolation for up to three days will also get free care kits, according to Angat Buhay NGO’s social media posts.
Robredo had announced the return of the services last Wednesday, July 20. Twenty minutes after her callout for volunteers, 1,100 people had signed up, she said.
“Thank you. The spirit of volunteerism is alive and well,” Robredo tweeted.
The former vice president and opposition leader is reviving her free teleconsultation service as the Philippines experiences another spike in COVID-19 cases driven by the BA.5 Omicron subvariant.
Bayanihan E-Konsulta, Robredo’s brainchild, was designed to help decongest hospitals when COVID-19 cases were surging during her vice presidency.
It drew widespread praise for its efficient services despite it being run mostly by volunteers, who worked odd hours without salaries in order to help save lives. COVID-19 care kits were also given to patients, an initiative later copied by the Department of Health.
Before ending operations on May 31, Bayanihan E-Konsulta was able to serve a total of 58,000 patients with the help of 947 volunteer doctors and 1,761 call and chat agents.
Just before stepping down from office on June 30, Robredo had announced plans to replicate Bayanihan E-Konsulta to serve various localities across the country even beyond the COVID-19 crisis. – Rappler.com