Amid the rising cases of COVID-19 infection nationwide, Davao region’s ability to manage and swiftly respond to the pandemic, anchored on its strong public-private partnership, proves very inspiring.

This was shared by Dr. Anabelle Yumang, Region XI Regional Director of the Department of Health- Center for Health Development Davao (DOH-CHD) in Thursday’s episode of the Beat COVID-19 Virtual Presser.

Mula nang sumiklab ang pandemya, gumawa ng kinakailangang hakbang ang DOH-CHD sa Region XI upang masusing suportahan ang local government unit (LGU) sa pagpapalakas ng paglaban ng rehiyon sa pandemya at mapigilan ang transmission ng novel coronavirus,” explained Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.

According to Yumang, the actions taken by the Davao LGUs include setting up two dedicated hospitals for COVID cases, and the early set-up of facilities for quarantine and temporary treatment monitoring. The region also ensured that private hospitals allot 10-15% of their bed capacity to indigent patients since the big government hospitals will be dedicated to COVID response.

“One of the strategies is magkaron talaga ng dedicated hospitals for COVID. It was already identified that our two big hospitals, the Southern Philippines Medical Center and our Davao Regional Medical Center, will be the two designated hospitals, while the private hospitals may only cater or handle non-COVID patients,” Yumang explained.

Yumang further stated that this strategy has three key advantages, “One is that patients admitted in these hospitals for COVID have no out-of-pocket expenditure—from suspected, probable, up to confirmed.” Another advantage is less chances of transmission. “The transmission of the virus is less because it is only confined to the two hospitals that are only accepting COVID patients.”

In addition, dedicating only a couple of big government hospitals for COVID response will enable an efficient reporting and monitoring of data. Yumang continued, “It is also easy and faster for the reporting of cases, because we are only seeing the cases in these two hospitals and you can monitor cases from time to time.”

Yumang also reported that the compliance and diligence of Davaoeños helped greatly in the region’s implementation of COVID response. “There is collective ownership in managing the pandemic,” the Davao health official said.

Yumang elaborated that this cooperation was observed when private hospitals and schools were either turned into accommodation for healthcare workers or quarantine facilities, while point-to-point bus operators offered transportation for the frontliners.

Establishments and public transportation, Yumang explained, also abided to the policies by agreeing to lessen the number of their customers, passengers, and installation of barriers.

“Everyone has a role in addressing COVID-19. With this, we will always remember—the sacrifices we do now will not be put to waste. And in this fight we will soon win, and a silver lining will be seen at the end of the day. We have to act as one, heal as one,” Yumang added.

The health undersecretary supported Yumang’s pronouncements. “Isa naman talaga sa prinsipyo na pinatutupad natin ngayon dito sa ating response for the pandemic is yung magkaroon tayo ng whole-of-government, whole-of-society effort sa ating response,” Vergeire concluded.