Published by the Visayan Daily Star
Editor-in-Chief & President
Bureau Chief, Dumaguete
MAJA P. DELY
|CARLOS ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA
Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Tuesday described as “fake news” the reported shortage of personal protective equipment (PPEs) for health workers in the country dealing with the threat of the corona virus disease.
Meanwhile, the Department of Health said earlier that there is a global shortage of PPEs causing the lack of available protective gear for health workers in the country. That might explain why hospitals and health care providers in the country are asking for donations as they address the COVID-19 epidemic that is threatening to overwhelm our health care systems.
Fake news or not, hospitals need PPEs that government has been slow to provide and in many areas, citizens have picked up the slack by donating improvised and do-it-yourself solutions as their way of helping out in this crisis.
“Unfortunately, we are in a situation where there is a shortage of masks and PPE and so we have seen in many situations people using do-it-yourself kits,” World Health Organization representative in the Philippines Rabindra Abeyasinghe said Tuesday in a press briefing.
“The issue is that they cannot 100 percent protect you. But they will provide some degree of protection,” he added.
The shortage in medical supplies and PPE has prompted hospitals and healthcare facilities to call for donations. To fill the gap, citizens have responded, creating improvised face masks and even face shields for front liners in the line of duty. The protection offered by these DIY donations will never be as good as DOH and WHO approved PPEs but the reality is that the lack of creative solutions by government gives front liners, a disproportionate number of them having already made the ultimate sacrifice, limited choices.
Of the 38 COVID-19 deaths in the country, at least four were frontline doctors. Without adequate PPEs, many more are in danger of being infected in the line of duty. The reality is these doctors are not the frontline, they are the only line. Government officials who have access to testing despite minimal exposure to the virus and can do something about this critical situation shouldn’t waste time worrying about fake news and focus on the reality on the ground and in the hospitals all over the country.*