MECQ âgood enoughâ for doctors
Like this health worker biking to work yesterday, many commuters are using alternative modes of transport following the implementation of MECQ in Metro Manila.
Edd Gumban
MECQ ‘good enough’ for doctors
Sheila Crisostomo (The Philippine Star) - August 5, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Medical frontliners are hopeful that the two-week modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) in Metro Manila and four nearby provinces will be “good enough” for the government to “re-calibrate” the country’s response to COVID-19.

In an interview with “The Chiefs” on OneNews, Maricar Limpin, co-convenor of the Health Professionals Alliance Against COVID-19, said they hope that during this period, the government would be able to “put in place more specific and detailed” strategies to contain the virus.

The alliance, comprising around 100 health organizations, particularly want contact tracing to be strengthened in the community.

“If you are not able to follow up people who were exposed, you will not be able to identify them and put them in quarantine. If you cannot do that, it will cause continuing spread of the infection,” noted Limpin, who is also vice president of the Philippine College of Physicians.

She added the country must also have a “more effective way of identifying” those infected.

“Case finding is also a big problem. One reason why we are not able to do this more correctly is because of the persistence of our local government units (LGUs) in the test that they use in determining if a person has COVID-19,” she maintained.

According to Limpin, there is “too much reliance” on the part of LGUs on the rapid antibody test kits despite pronouncements that they are “not reliable.”  At the most, she claimed the rapid test kits are only 50 percent effective in detecting the virus.

“We’re actually putting resources to something that is not helpful… There is a promising antigen that we can look into. This promises a more reliable test over the rapid antibody. But of course we need to see the results,” she said.

Limpin reiterated they were not threatening the administration with revolution when they wrote to President Duterte to request for a “timeout” in Metro Manila.

“It is important to relieve the bulk of work that we have right now so we can win this war against COVID-19… The public must help by strictly following the necessary measures to prevent infections,” she added.

Lawmakers, meanwhile, said the two-week MECQ should provide the Department of Health (DOH) the chance to shape up and prove its mettle to the cautious public.

“I ask the DOH to shape up. They must disprove the impression that they are merely reactive to developments by demonstrating to the public that they are in control of the situation,” Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, chairman of the ways and means committee, said.

“From this point forward, the efforts of the DOH and our testing, tracing and treatment czars to materially expand our health capacity must be enough to ensure that we are ready to handle even the worst waves of infection,” he said.

“A stronger grip on public health outcomes drives market confidence, and confidence is everything in economics,” Salceda said. “The rule of COVID-19 management is simple: build, build, build health capacity while a vaccine is not yet here,” he pointed out. – Delon Porcalla, Alexis Romero

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