DOH needs P11.7 billion to hire contact tracers

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The Department of Health () would need P11.7 billion budget to compensate additional contact tracers in three months.

The DOH had earlier said they still need 95,000 contact tracers who will be paid based on the salary grade set by the Civil Service Law.

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“Nung kinompute natin ito with proposed qualifications ng mga contact tracers, nakita natin na mangangailangan tayo ng 11.7 billion (Pesos) in 3 months,” said kay Health Undersecretary Ma. Rosario Vergeire.

(When we computed this with proposed qualifications of contact tracers, we saw that we need 11.7 billion pesos in three months.)

Vergeire earlier said the ideal ratio of is one per 800 people.

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“Ang standard po na kailangan po natin ay 126,000. [Pero] mayroon na po tayong 38,000 na contact tracers galing sa local government units. Iyong 95,000 [na contact tracers], ‘yun ang kailangan nating tulong para makaagapay,” she said.

(The standard is we need 126,000. But we still have 38,000 contact tracers from the local government units. The 95,000 is required to assist us.)

Also read: WHO official: PH’s contact tracing ‘slow’

Qualifications for DOH contact tracers

When it comes to qualifications, DOH seeks to hire workers with a medical background, particularly nurses, or graduate or undergraduate of other medical courses.

“We have proposed the following qualifications to them (DILG) when they hire. These include being allied medical professionals such as a nurse, or at least a graduate or an undergraduate of an allied medical course,” Vergeire said.

“We have also suggested the following to include in data gathering, and being able to interview cases and close contacts to gather data on travel history and conduct a health assessment and advocating public health because they need to provide health education messages as well,” she added.

Applicants also need to have ‘social skills’ due to the interviews that need to be conducted during the contact tracing.

The DOH has already contacted the Department of the Interior and Local Government in finding applicants for the position.

They also asked the DILG to consider barangay health workers and social workers as support staff in the contact tracing to prevent the spread of the virus in communities effectively.

On May 12, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said the government should hire displaced workers as contact tracers. 

Dominguez said then that around 1.2 to 1.5 million lost their jobs temporarily due to the pandemic.

“One contract tracer can take a whole day for one case, so we need to hire more contract tracers to match the numbers we expect [of tracking],” Dominguez said.

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