Gov’t still has ‘no clear plans’ to fight pandemic: HPAAC

Healthcare Professionals Alliance against COVID-19 (HPAAC) released a statement saying that the government “still [having] no clear plans and efforts to fix the root causes” of the problems caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As the IATF deliberates on the fate of the Filipino people amidst this pandemic, HPAAC is alarmed that critical bottlenecks to long-term solutions have not been addressed, and necessary changes to systems and processes have yet to be implemented,” it said in a statement on April 11.

HPAAC said the two-week implementation of enhanced community quarantine () is “but a short-term intervention, and yet it seems to have been wasted again.”

The organization listed five concerns that government should focus on:

1. There is inefficiency in allocating patients to the appropriate facility because there is no unity of command and effort between LGU-led and DOH-guided responses. This is why the sick and their families desperately find their own way across overflowing hospitals in the NCR hotspots, crowding out services in neighboring and cities. Our demand: establish an Incident Management Team for command and control for the whole NCR.

2. There is a failure to immediately isolate cases and quarantine contacts due to a fragmented Test-Trace-Treat strategy across the country. Interoperability of existing digital solutions is saddled by bureaucratic red tape and conflicts of interest. Our demand: pass an enabling law that will compel data sharing through an integrated ICT infrastructure.

Gov’t still has ‘no clear plans’ to fight pandemic: HPAAC

3. The APAT DAPAT measures have not been mainstreamed by government agencies across various settings, particularly in transportation, workplaces, business establishments, and other public spaces. Our demand: adopt APAT Dapat and emphasize stronger messaging on ventilation measures.

4. Vaccines have not been adequately utilized due to shortages and inefficiencies in distribution. Our demand: recalibrate the program in order to ramp up and achieve set targets without compromises in caused by inadvertent queues and crowding in vaccination areas.

5. People are unable to comply with protocols due to social determinants of health. Our demand: allocate adequate investment in social safety nets and support to populations at risk.

“As the government inevitably lifts the ECQ, HPAAC asks: have critical bottlenecks to long-term solutions proposed been addressed? Are our systems and processes ready to protect the people from this surge?” HPAAC said.