Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen the Office of the Vice President (OVP) roll out its COVID-19 response efforts and the results have been satisfying. Despite its limited manpower and budget, the OVP launched several programs intended to help curb the virus and to offer a hand to marginalized Filipinos. The newly launched Bayanihan E-Konsulta Facebook page is just one of Vice President Leni Robredo’s efforts. What is the Bayanihan E-Konsulta and what are the OVP’s other projects?
“Ang gusto po naming i-target dito ay ‘yung mga pasyente na hindi maka-access sa mga existing platforms either because wala silang pambayad sa doktor or mayroon namang mga free tele-consult service pero ‘yung iba di maka-access dahil wala silang [mobile] data,” said Robredo during a Facebook live.
The Bayanihan E-Konsulta is free and you can send them consultation messages from Mondays to Saturdays 8 AM to 5 PM.
The program strictly acts as a teleconsultation Facebook page, that’s why the comments are disabled. But how can you reach doctors that can help you?
How does it work?
Those who need medical care and advice from a professional can look up Bayanihan E-Konsulta on Facebook and send them a private message. Once you type “Get Started” in the message box, it will prompt you to answer a series of questions that will get your details and assess what type of medical care you need.
On the other side of the line, volunteers are working hard to read each message that comes through and to connect you with a professional that can help.
- Refer you to the One Hospital Command center for emergencies
- Refer you to your LGU for quarantine and isolation
- Prescribe medicines
- Have a COVID Care Kit delivered to your doorstep + have you monitored twice a day
- Request you to have an x-ray or laboratory exam
- Request you to get swabbed for COVID
- Request for medical assistance for indigent patients
It’s a lot of work and the OVP has admitted they do have manpower limitations. To solve this, they keep on-boarding more volunteers and doctors every week to keep up with the demand.
Care kits and monitoring sheets
- Pulse oximeter
- Medicine and vitamins
- Face masks
- Rubbing alcohol
- Monitoring sheet
For those who want to download the monitoring sheet for home treatment, the OVP has made it public and you can access it here. Once patients are given the COVID Care Kit, a dedicated team will call them twice a day to monitor their health.
Since Day 1, Bayanihan E-Konsulta has been bombarded with a flood of messages. On April 16, they released data that tallied all the requests they received in a day. April 7’s data was the lowest at 517 messages but the following day, April 8, the requests jumped to 3,270. Every day since then, at least 1,500 people were messaging the Facebook page asking for help and seeking consultation.
- April 7 – 516
- April 8 – 3,270
- April 9 – 2,106
- April 10 – 1,767
- April 11 – 2,014
- April 12 – 1,658
- April 13 – 1,354
- April 14 – 1,428
- April 15 – 685
The surge in messages convinces VP Leni that Filipinos need services like these — free and accessible. VP Leni also mentioned that since they opened a call for volunteers, 642 doctors and 1,974 non-medical volunteers signed up. The OVP’s team has been working round the clock to make sure Bayanihan E-Konsulta runs as smoothly as possible.
A mobile laboratory
VP Leni issued a statement that said these mobile laboratories will help suspected COVID-positive patients avoid traveling to other facilities. An ambulance even brings patients to the mobile lab.
Disseminating important information
We brought Swab Cab to Quezon City today. We were able to conduct 651 tests in 3 barangays – Culiat, Tandang Sora and Pasong Tamo. 54 of those tests turned out Covid Positive. pic.twitter.com/T6jriWXB4j
— Leni Robredo (@lenirobredo) April 17, 2021
Aside from Bayanihan E-Konsulta, the OVP’s COVID response efforts also included a Swab Cab, a premium bus stocked with swab kits brought to areas with high infection rates. People won’t have to travel to hospitals, they can be tested in the vicinity of their barangays. To date, the Swab Cab has conducted operations in Malabon and Quezon City.
A total of 80 residents turned out to be COVID-positive during the initial 1,300 tests conducted. Residents are given rice and hygiene kits to encourage them to get tested. And once a patient tests positive, the OVP provides them with food packs and helps monitor their condition.
All those who were tested were given rice and hygiene kits. All those who turned out positive were given food packs for their families and Covid Care Kits. All those who will be self-isolating at home will still be monitored by our volunteers, two times each day. pic.twitter.com/ZpgEiz0L4x
— Leni Robredo (@lenirobredo) April 17, 2021
The OVP has another ongoing program that aims to provide medical assistance to underprivileged Filipinos. Various partner Service Providers collaborated for this including government hospitals in Manila, Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao and dialysis centers in Metro Manila.
Medical assistance is a helpful aid when it comes to finances for purchasing medicines or paying hospital bills. Of course, you’ll need to submit papers and medical records and you can only receive medical assistance from the OVP once every 12 months.