The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) faces two challenges at the same time in responding to the needs of the Filipino people affected by Super Typhoon Odette in Palawan, Visayas, and the Mindanao region and manning the vaccination centers, testing sites, and isolation facilities to fight the pandemic.
PRC led by its Chairman and CEO Sen. Dick Gordon mobilized PRC assets such as Payloaders, Food Trucks, Water tankers, Rescue Vehicles, etc. in restoring the lifelines in the areas battered by Typhoon Odette.
Despite the ongoing disaster response in the different areas hit by Typhoon Odette, PRC continues to be at the forefront in battling the COVID-19 pandemic. Chairman Gordon leads the humanitarian organization in the establishment of 14 molecular laboratories nationwide to test more people to isolate positive individuals and prevent household transmission.
Since the beginning of 2022, the Philippines is currently experiencing a surge of COVID-19 positive individuals with a daily average of close to 30,000 over the last two weeks.
It is through the vision of Chairman Gordon to implement ways to curb the pandemic to save lives through testing, isolation of positive individuals, and vaccinating the unvaccinated to protect the Filipino people from the virus.
PRC Chairman Gordon also pushes for testing for early detection amidst the rising cases of COVID-19 in the country.
Chairman Gordon introduced last January 20, 2021, the saliva RT-PCR test. Chairman Gordon said that the saliva RT-PCR test is a game-changer in testing as it is more affordable, faster, and non-invasive, and requires less manpower suitable for far-flung areas.
To also make testing accessible to the public, PRC partnered with different shopping malls such as SM, Robinsons, Ayala, and Araneta to serve as saliva collection sites. PRC also partnered with Angkas for a saliva test home service.
“Tayo ay magpatest lagi upang malaman natin kung kailangan mag-isolate kapag positibo sa COVID-19. The best protection is detecting the virus early and isolating the infected individuals to prevent the spread of the virus. Pinababa nang Red Cross ang RT-PCR test at ito ay ang pinaka mababa sa bansa,” Chairman Gordon said.
To date, PRC tested 5,352,770 individuals in their 14 molecular laboratories nationwide comprising a wide majority of the national testing output. PRC COVID-19 testing paved the way to save individuals from contracting the virus.
PRC Isolation facilities
The sudden surge of COVID-positive cases in March 2021 heightened the need for facilities that care for asymptomatic patients and those with mild symptoms.
The pressure became so intense that Chairman Dick Gordon invited MMDA Chairman Benhur Abalos and LGU Mayors on Good Friday last year to present his plan to address this crisis which would entail the conversion of idle classrooms into isolation facilities.
These repurposed classrooms and facilities in UP, Ateneo, Makati Science High School, Cagayan, St. Benilde, and Adamson house asymptomatic and mild patients to allow them to be isolated for 14 days away from their households. These individuals are provided with essential needs such as beds, toiletries, isolation kits, and food.
The PRC isolation facility program is only one among the various initiatives dedicated to enhancing the management of COVID-19 in the country. To date, 4,989 patients were served since the start of operations.
“Maraming salamat sa aming mga partners at donors para sa aming isolation facilities upang maiwasan ang hawaan sa mga household. Sa patuloy na pagtaas ng kaso ng COVID-19 sa bansa, isa lamang sa aming initiatives ang isolation facilities para tulungan ang mga apektado ng COVID-19 na may mapuntahan upang di mahawaan ang mga pamilya nila at iba pang tao,” Dick Gordon said.
To ensure everyone’s safety against COVID-19, Chairman Gordon said that vaccination is one of the best ways to protect you from the virus.
PRC continues its vaccination program in support of the national government and has vaccinated 884, 279 individuals through its 26 Bakuna Centers and 17 Bakuna Buses nationwide.
The PRC Bakuna Bus is one of the various initiatives Chairman Gordon used way back during the polio, measles and rubella vaccination to reach the most vulnerable in far-flung areas.
“Magpabakuna upang maiwasan ang severe cases kontra COVID-19. Mayroon tayong mga Bakuna Centers at Bakuna Buses na patuloy ang pagiikot upang maabot ang mga walang access sa bakuna. Nagawa na natin kontra polio at measles magagawa rin natin ngayon. Let’s Win our War against COVID-19,” Chairman Gordon said.
PRC also conducts walk-in adult vaccination at the EDSA Boni Bakuna Center to hasten the vaccination efforts in Metro Manila.
PRC volunteers and staff are ready to vaccinate walk-in clients with J&J, Sinovac, and AstraZeneca primary series. Bakuna Centers are open to the public Monday to Friday from 9 AM – 5 PM and on Saturdays from 9 AM – 12 NN.