Unforeseen circumstances have been hampering the distribution of compensation to the families of health care workers who died or health workers who got critically sick due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), Health Undersecretary Rosario Vergeire said on Tuesday.
Vergeire’s statement was made as the deadline set by President Rodrigo Duterte for the distribution of the financial assistance arrived.
Vergeire said 26 checks had been distributed to the heirs of health workers that died from COVID-19, but there were six others that have not gone out because a special power of attorney was needed because the next of kin were abroad or in confinement.
Some 24 health workers who were severely ill with COVID-19 were expected to receive P100,000 each as a benefit, but only 10 of them have received their checks so far. The records for the others were still under verification, Vergeire said.
Mental health a concern
The impact of COVID-19 reaches beyond the immediate physical health and economic concerns that have grabbed attention over the past few months, the Department of Health (DOH) said on Tuesday.
A person’s mental and psychosocial well- being is also an equally important part of staying safe and healthy during the pandemic, the DOH also said.
In Tuesday’s Beat COVID-19 virtual press conference, Health Undersecretary Dr. Maria Rosario Vergeire discussed with local mental and psychosocial care groups about the options available for managing the psychological impact not only of the pandemic, but all the other stress-inducers.
The National Center for Medical Health (NCMH) offers its 24/7 crisis and suicide services for a free and confidential consultation. Callers are received by mental health crisis responders and are referred to a hospital’s licensed psychiatrist if needed. The NCMH Crisis Hotline may be reached at 0917-899-USAP (8727) or (02) 7-989-USAP.
Responding to the increasing mental health concerns experienced by frontliners and repatriated Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), NCMH also launched its Telemental Health Response initiative, which is an internet platform for remote psychosocial support sessions. The remote setup helps provide much-needed support while reducing the risk of transmitting the virus through outside exposure.
Gordon seeks clear govt policy
Four months after the Department of Health (DOH) reported the country’s first case of Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and with the continuous increase of number of positive cases, Senator Richard J. Gordon urged the government to set a clear policy on containing COVID-19 and reiterated the need for a massive testing in the fight to flatten the curve.
“I have consistently declared that the best way to fight the virus is to unmask it, to expose the virus as it hides in our people," he said.
He said exposing the virus means testing the population to find out those who are positive, isolate them, do contact tracing, provide medical treatment, and take care of the other family members.
He pointed out that the World Health Organization (WHO) has been recommending to test at least 13 percent of the country’s total population. In support of this target, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC), which Gordon heads, has invested in test facilities that currently has a capacity of 12,000 tests per day. When more of the PRC’s molecular laboratories start to operate, the daily testing capacity will increase to 22,000.
More vaccination pushed
THE Department of Health is pushing to expand vaccination for children even during the COVID-19 pandemic, Health Undersecretary Rosario Vergeire said Tuesday. She said immunizing children against other infectious diseases was essential even during a pandemic.
The Dengvaxia scare in 2017 and 2018 has led to a decline in the number of children being vaccinated, which in turn has resulted in increases in the number of cases of measles and the re-emergence of polio.
Attacks on women, kids up during lockdown
The Philippine National Police had recorded a total of 1,945 cases of violence against women and 1,754 cases of violence against children during the lockdown as a result of COVID-19, President Rodrigo Duterte said in his report to Congress on Monday.
On Tuesday, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said they were saddened by this statistic, but hopeful that the number of incidents would decline with the easing of quarantine restrictions. He also urged victims to report abuses to the authorities.