The city government of Quezon City has started training local health workers and volunteers on how to handle biosecurity risks in communities.
As directed by Mayor Joy Belmonte, the Quezon City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office and the Quezon City Health Department have started teaching barangay-based health workers and first responders how to minimize risks in handling patients afflicted with or suspected to be carriers of contagious diseases like the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Trainers from Quezon City Epidemiolgy and Disease Surveillance Section led by city epidemiologist Dr. Rolando V. Cruz conduct hands-on training of members of the city’s Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams (BHERT) on how to properly wear personal protective equipment (PPEs) before directly handing patients under investigation.
“Wearing PPEs involves a tedious process to make sure that the responder is fully protected from possible contamination,” Cruz said.
Mayor Belmonte had earlier ordered the distribution of PPE kits to the barangays as the city government implemented proactive measures to safeguard the city’s residents from the possible spread of the dreaded disease which has gripped Asian countries since December.
Each PPE kit contains: anti-fog goggles, disposable latex gloves, disposable plastic shoe cover, disposable coverall, disposable surgical gown, N95 face mask, disposable surgical mask, and disposable head cap.
Training sessions have so far trained more than a hundred BHERT members from 20 barangays. Mayor Belmonte has directed the QCDRRMO and the QCHD to capacitate all barangays. Quezon City has 142 barangays.
The first training session was held at Barangay Batasan Hills with over 30 participants from the city’s 2nd district followed by another session with BHERT members from the city’s fifth district at the newly-opened Regional Evacuation Center in Barangay Fairview.
“We were instructed by Mayor Joy Belmonte to train the community response teams with the necessary skills in handling cases such as the Covid 19,” said Karl Michael E. Marasigan, head of QCDRRMO.
Interior Secretary Eduardo Año had issued a memorandum ordering local chief executives to form or activate BHERTs to address the COVID-19 outbreak.
The DILG circular tasks BHERTs to visit the homes of persons who came from countries affected by the outbreak and list down the names of the persons that the traveler had contact with.
BHERTs are instructed to immediately isolate the coronavirus suspect in a room away from family members and contact local authorities in transporting them to the nearest healthcare facility equipped to handle such cases.
According to city epidemiologist Dr. Rolando Cruz communities should know how to properly respond to public health risk emergencies.
“Sa lahat ng healthworkers, parehas tayo magtulungan at gawing ligtas at maayos ang mga barangay. Trust the right information para sa ating mga nasasakupan sakaling maging community ang transmission ng COVID,” Cruz said.
Barangay Batasan Hills captain Jojo Abad appreciates the effort of the city government
“Nakakamangha na sa barangay level pa lang may traning na ganito. Handa na tayo sakaling magkaroon ng case na ganito. Katulong ang barangay, naghahanda sa mga pwede nating gawin para magrespond sa Covid 19,” Abad, who also participated in the training, said. (Ares P. Gutierrez, City Government Assistant Department Head III, Public Information Officer, Quezon City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office)