‘Mobilize volunteers for contact-tracing’

Sheila Crisostomo (The Philippine Star) - June 9, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Local governments units (LGUs) have been urged to organize barangay-based contact-tracing teams that will account for suspected coronavirus carriers, especially now that overseas Filipino workers and those stranded during the lockdown have returned to their hometowns.

“City and municipal mayors should prioritize the organization of contact-tracing teams as provided under the Joint Circular Memorandum 2020-01,” Commission on Population (PopCom) executive director Juan Antonio Perez III said yesterday.

The circular was issued on April 30 by the PopCom, National Economic and Development Authority, Department of Health (DOH) and Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

Under the circular, mayors with constituents who contracted coronavirus disease 2019 or COVID-19 could mobilize their barangay health workers and other volunteers for contact-tracing.

These volunteers, who may include barangay watchmen, can conduct contact-tracing under the supervision of the epidemiology and surveillance units in the locality.

“LGUs without such units can ask their governors as well as the DOH regional offices and the PopCom for technical assistance,” Perez said.

“Contact-tracing teams should be present in barangays without confirmed cases, but with suspected infections since these may eventually turn positive,” he added.

Perez said volunteers play a significant role during the quarantine period, especially in implementing programs on responsible parenthood and reproductive health.

Since March, volunteers have been regularly visiting households in villages to deliver family planning information and contraceptives.

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