PH eyes other forms of help to fight Ebola
MANILA, Philippines–The Department of Health (DOH) is considering other forms of assistance, besides deploying volunteer health workers, for the Ebola-stricken countries of West Africa.
“As of the moment, we’re not sending health workers to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone,” DOH spokesman Dr. Lyndon Lee Suy said in a press briefing on Thursday.
“We are looking at other ways of providing assistance. When you say help, it doesn’t necessarily have to be about human resources. We need not be physically present there to be able to help,” said Lee Suy.
“Assistance could be in the form of financial aid if we have enough funds, or in kind, like hygiene kits for instance,” he added.
He said health officials continue to evaluate the feasibility of heeding the call to dispatch more doctors and nurses to Ebola-hit countries.
“We need to evaluate everything, we need to see how feasible it is. But as of the moment we’re not taking on the call,” he explained, stressing that the government was now focused on strengthening the country’s preparedness to prevent the disease from reaching Philippine soil.
Health Secretary Enrique Ona earlier said that the government was discussing the possibility of sending health workers to West Africa in response to a global call to help stem the spread of the deadly disease.
But this was opposed by the Philippine Medical Association and the Philippine College of Physicians, saying it would be better to ensure the protection of the country against the virus first before sending Filipino medical professionals to the affected areas.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the Philippines is “vulnerable” to the threat of the deadly virus because of its migrant population.
Lee Suy admitted that the health authorities have not yet been able to devise a system capable of making the country immune from the threat of Ebola.
“To say that we’re really prepared to handle Ebola is, I think, too much,” he said.
He assured the public, however, that the DOH is engaged in preparations to be better equipped in handling the possible threat.
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