DOH UPDATES ON COLLABORATION WITH HEALTHCARE WORKERS IN IMPROVING COVID RESPONSE
Press Release | 04 August 2020 
 
As our comrades on the ground recommended using a timeout to allow us to regroup and improve our pandemic response, the DOH immediately engaged them to create solutions. This “timeout” will be used to take a few steps back and see our COVID situation in a bigger picture. Yesterday afternoon, the first of a series of collaborative meetings with the representatives of over 100 of the country’s medical societies took place to recalibrate our current strategies.  
 
Representatives that will form the working group have been identified from both DOH and the alliance of healthcare professionals. The working group will collectively come up with strategies to address the following critical areas: 1) health workforce deficiency, 2) contact tracing and isolation protocols, 3) transportation and workplace safety guidelines, 4) proper distribution of social amelioration, 5) testing capabilities to ensure we are using the appropriate tools in detecting the COVID infection, and 6) cascading of protocols to the local government units and the private sector.  
 
We also presented the Coordinated Operations to Defeat Epidemic or CODE, a 14-day protocol anchored on strong ownership and leadership by local leaders and community members, proactive behavior change campaign, provision of masks, active case finding through house to house symptoms checking, early isolation of close contacts and coordinated referral to facilities. This was well-received by the medical societies who emphasized the importance of community engagement for the initiative to besustainable. They further stressed the importance of applying the same intensity of response in workplace clusters.  
 
Today, we will agree on the proposed solutions and synthesize these into a coherent strategy that can be effectively and efficiently executed by and with the community. The roles of all participating organizations, from health and other sectors, as well as time lines and targets will be more clearly defined. 
 
We thank our medical societies for their commitment, making time to work with us on making impactful solutions in our COVID response.  
 
Rest assured that we will continue to work with our healthcare professionals in the coming days to come up with more concrete plans and a way forward by the end of the week. We look forward to this meaningful and timely collaboration. 
 
As we are now placed in Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine, may we all take this time to also reinforce the minimum health standards in our respective households, such as only going out for essential purposes, wearing of face masks and shields when going out, practicing physical distancing, regular hand washing, and observing proper cough etiquette. Together we can beat COVID-19, together we can #BIDASolusyon.