The government will purchase an additional 11 million personal protective equipment (PPE) and medical supplies worth PHP 20 billion to ensure the safety of healthcare workers amid the coronavirus pandemic, National Action Plan on Covid-19 chief implementer Carlito Galvez Jr. said.
Galvez, who is also presidential adviser on the peace process, said the government has already purchased about 1,033,000 protective gears and medical supplies worth PHP1.8 billion, which are currently being distributed to about 699 hospitals nationwide.
Galvez emphasized that the procurement service of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) is responsible for purchasing the PPE sets and other medical supplies.
The Office of the Civil Defense (OCD), he said, is tasked to distribute the PPE sets.
“Mula sa 11 million PPE sets na ito, tayo po ay kasalukuyang bumibili ng three million (From the 11 million PPE sets, we are currently purchasing 3 million),” he said, noting that the additional purchased PPE sets are expected to arrive by May 18.
A complete set of medical-grade PPE sets is worth PHP1,800 to PHP2,000, he said, which will fully protect every healthcare worker “from head to foot.”
“Kung bibiihin po natin ang sinasabi sa ibang halaga na 400 hanggang 600 kada PPEs, binibigyan lang po natin ang ating mga healthcare workers ng maling sense of protection (If we will procure those amounting to PHP400 to PHP600 per PPE, we are just providing our healthcare workers a wrong sense of protection),” he said, adding that kind of protective gear did not pass the government’s medical standards.
“Hindi po natin pwedeng i-sacrifice ang buhay ng ating mga frontliners, dahil yun ang sinabi sa atin ng Presidente na kailangan mai-preserve natin ang buhay ng ating medical workers (We cannot afford to sacrifice the lives of our front-liners, that’s the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte. We need to preserve the lives of our medical workers),” he said, adding that “we must buy the best quality of level 4 medical-grade PPEs.”
“Those PPEs worth PHP400 to PHP600, I repeat, it did not undergo proper test and evaluation, hence we are risking the lives of healthcare workers if we procure these very cheap PPEs,” he said.
He said the medical-grade PPE sets with Level 4 quality procured by the government have passed the international medical standards.
It was designed to provide maximum protection for the medical workers, he said.
“Binibigay po natin ito (PPE sets) sa ating mga front-liners sa buong bansa upang siguruhin ang kanilang proteksyon at kaligtasan (We are giving these PPE sets to our medical front-liners nationwide to ensure their protection and safety) including AFP, PNP and other uniformed soldiers deployed in the checkpoints and in the mega quarantine facilities,” Galvez said.
Meanwhile, Galvez said since the government has begun purchasing and distributing medical-grade PPE sets with Level 4 quality, there has been “a great reduction of death cases among healthcare workers in the country.
“From as high as 20 deaths, in God’s mercy, our doctors and nurses are now protected from the coronavirus risks,” he said.
Based on the evaluation of the Chinese doctors and experts, he said, there is still a need for the country to improve our safety protocols to ensure that the healthcare workers are safe against Covid-19 risks. (PNA)