The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) shows no letup in addressing the dengue crisis as it deployed more medical tents and blood products to support communities with a high number of dengue cases.
Under the leadership of Chairman Richard Gordon, PRC has treated 1,055 patients through its eight emergency medical tents that serve as extension wards and fast lanes in Iloilo, Capiz, and Aklan.
The medical tents are installed at most overcrowded hospitals namely Balasan District Hospital, Sara District Hospital and Guimbal District Hospital in Iloilo; Tapaz District Hospital and Bailan District Hospital in Capiz; and Aklan Provincial Hospital.
PRC recently opened a 60-bed medical tent at the Pagamutang Bayan ng Dasmarinas in the Province of Cavite, where 3,277 dengue cases have been recorded.
“Tens of thousands of patients continue streaming into overcrowded hospital. All hands are on deck to address this deadly epidemic. We set up medical tents, augment the blood supply in most affected provinces, and put our ambulances on standby,” Gordon said.
Gordon also assured that PRC, with the support of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, remains on full alert to supply the blood needs amid the declaration of a national epidemic.
As of August 8, PRC has supplied 330 units of blood supplies to over a hundred patients with hemorrhagic complications from Iloilo and Aklan.
On Wednesday, PRC National Headquarters sent 85 units of frozen blood products to Tacloban and Palawan after it augment 165 blood units to Iloilo and Aklan.
Gordon, who treats the dengue crisis as a “national emergency,” came up with a three-point strategy to address the dengue epidemic—deploy medical tents, maintain the adequacy of blood supply, and mobilize 143 volunteers to conduct cleanup efforts.
PRC maximizes its network of community volunteers through Red Cross 143 and Red Cross Youth programs to track down dengue and conduct clean-up efforts within a 400-meter radius where they are discovered.
“The real solution to dengue is a massive cleanup. The Red Cross is treating it as a national emergency because one dead is already one dead too many,” Gordon said.
The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) is on the move to help address the immediate needs in Itbayat, Batanes, which experienced successive earthquakes on Saturday.
PRC Chairman Richard Gordon, who led the organization’s response over the weekend, said the organization is focusing on providing psychosocial support, food, water, and temporary shelter for over 2,000 individuals who are displaced in an open ground in front of the municipal hall.
“We are assessing as we are giving. Right now we are focused on their immediate needs, but eventually, we will provide their long-term needs, such as houses,” Gordon said.
He added, “The operations is extra challenging as the remote island of Itbayat is a two-to-three-hour boat ride from Basco and can only be reached using small boats. But this will not slow us down. We are working with different organizations to ensure that aid will be given as fast as possible.”
PRC National Headquarters partnered with the Armed Forces of the Philippines to deploy resources for in-depth assessments.
Among the items deployed are radio equipment, satellite phones, and water purification assets, composed of bladders, treatment units, and storage.
The humanitarian organization also sent thousands of ready-to-eat meals, temporary roofing materials, and water treatment units for the affected population.
Initial assessments show that there is a need for welfare and psychosocial support, especially for Ivatans who experienced trauma following the major shakes.
“The ground shaking was traumatic for Ivatans. Our welfare team is there to help people get rid of their trauma,” Gordon added.
PRC welfare teams also provided psychosocial support to injured patients at Basco General Hospital. PRC volunteers also distributed hot meals to 900 individuals on Saturday.
AMID THE declaration of dengue outbreak in Iloilo, Aklan, Cavite, Leyte, and South Cotabato, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) assures the public that it has adequate blood supply for dengue patients.
Chairman Richard Gordon said PRC, through its 93 blood service facilities nationwide, is working double-time to ensure the availability of blood supply, especially plasma and cryoprecipitate, which are used to prevent hemorrhagic complications associated with dengue.
“We keep track of the supplies in all our blood facilities in the country. In the event, the blood supply in a specific facility drops to a critical level, we will know immediately which nearby facility can provide additional products,” Gordon said.
PRC National Blood Services recently shipped a total of 165 units of frozen blood products to augment the supply in Iloilo and Aklan.
Aside from blood, PRC is also in the forefront of managing the dengue crisis as it deployed eight sets of emergency medical tents in Western Visayas Region.
PRC set up two of the deployed hospital tents, with a total bed capacity of 40, in Jesus M. Colmenares District Hospital in Balasan, Iloilo, which is currently accommodating over 250 patients against its actual bed capacity of 25.
The medical unit in Balasan has now served to 38 patients. The humanitarian organization is also preparing to set up more medical tents in Aklan, Capiz, and Guimaras.
Data from the Department of Health shows that the dengue crisis has affected 115,986 individuals this year.
“We have started to fill the gaps in the dengue outbreak response, but we have no plans to slow down. Much needs to be done to protect people’s lives. There is a need for a fast and consistent response,” Gordon said.
“Red Cross 143 volunteers are alerted to initiate community cleanup drives. As our eyes and ears on the ground, they are also tasked to report more cases of congestion of hospitals in their areas.”
TWO YEARS after the Marawi siege, the early recovery program of the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) has enabled over 6,000 displaced families to build new homes and start income-generating activities.
The P30.1-million project, supported by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), covered household livelihood and shelter repair assistance for a total of 6,014 families from the most affected areas.
“When we help, we don’t just give. It is important that we also empower. When we visited the people of Marawi in 2017, we told them ‘Babangon tayo’ and we remained committed to this mission. Two years after the siege, this commitment has shown results,” PRC Chairman Richard Gordon said.
A total of 2,307 returnees to 16 barangays received P10,000-household livelihood assistance from PRC and ICRC.
PRC’s Post Distribution Monitoring (PDM) report shows the majority of the beneficiaries used the capital for small businesses, such as sari-sari stores, retail shops, and eateries. Others ventured into transportation (tricycle, habal-habal), construction and carpentry, fishing, farming, and casual labor.
The PDM report also shows that 98 percent of the household livelihood assistance recipients’ main income source came from the Red Cross.
The Red Cross also distributed shelter toolkits to 3,792 families, inclusive of 1,385 families from 11 evacuation centers in Lanao Del Sur and Lanao Del Norte and 2,407 households from three Kambalingan barangays.
The shelter materials were used to repair roofs and walls, as well as to expand their houses for livelihood activities.
“We also established our Red Cross 143 program for community volunteers to help us respond to disasters and emergencies quickly. This is how we attain resilience,” Gordon added.
PRC also continues to provide safe and clean water to communities in evacuation centers. Since 2017, 29,514,700 liters of water have been served in 26 barangays and evacuation centers.
In December 2017, the Provincial Government of Lanao del Sur recognized the Red Cross for being one of the first to provide humanitarian assistance.
When the conflict broke out on May 23, 2017, Gordon mobilized the staff and volunteers from the nearby PRC Chapters and immediately deployed first aid, welfare, relief, and hygiene promotion teams.
PRC, with the support of ICRC, also set up a basic healthcare unit to ensure the health of evacuees.
The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) is exploring new programs and services to address the humanitarian challenges in the country, especially in the area of health.
Chairman Richard Gordon revealed plans to enhance its newly opened Dialysis Center to accommodate more patients.
“We are planning on strengthening our Dialysis Center so more poor Filipinos can acquire affordable and adequate dialysis treatments,” Gordon said.
He added that the Red Cross is also looking at opening a diagnostics center to provide access to quality healthcare to the poor.
“Ito ay para makakuha ng diagnostics services ang mga mahihirap gaya ng CT scan at ICU. We got into different services because the humanitarian challenges in this country require us to be dynamic. This is why we opened our first Dialysis Center because it is hard to say no to the most vulnerable,” Gordon said.
As of today, the Dialysis Center, which had its soft opening last February, has now provided 14 patients with 350 dialysis treatments.
Gordon made the statement during the joint celebration of the 72nd anniversary of PRC and the World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day, where the organization recognized its partners for their contribution to the organization’s services.
The Silver Humanitarian Service Cross Award is given to Chinese General Hospital President and PRC Governor James Dy for consistently supporting the organization’s programs in on various occasions.
During the measles outbreak when Metro Manila hospitals were badly in need of space for patient care, PRC set up field medical units using beds and mattresses donated by Governor James Dy.
The Aurora Aragon Quezon Medal Award, which was named after the first chairman of PRC, was awarded to former President Fidel V. Ramos; Michael Chen, the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Minavida de Mindanao Corporation; Clement Yang, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Medtecs International Corporation Ltd.; and Vicente Cuevas III, president of CAMJ Construction Inc.
Ramos was given recognition for actively promoting voluntary blood donation including his own regular donation. Through his pronouncements, he helped ensure adequate blood supply in the country. Cheng and Cuevas provided aircraft services to enable PRC to deliver timely services during disasters and emergencies, while Yang provided linens for the organization’s measles crisis operations, as well as body bags which made management of the remains of those who perished in the aftermath of Yolanda more humane.
“No person was ever honored for what he received, but for what he gives,” said Dy, quoting Calvin Coolidge as he shared his experience and inspiration in doing humanitarian work with for PRC. “I would like to thank Gordon for bringing me here to PRC. Thank you for your trust.”
During the occasion, PRC also recognized over 400 staff members and officers who have served the organization for five to 42 years.