Volunteering to Fight Covid-19 in the Philippines
26 June 2020
Taking action to fight the coronavirus reaches beyond the workday for ThinkWell’s Philippines team. On the side, they’re volunteering their expertise in these six ways:
- Matching health workers to health facilities: When coronavirus cases started spreading through the Philippines, Administrative and Finance Coordinator Susan Rosales stepped in to help. As a volunteer, she provided administrative and financial support to establish the Department of Health Healthcare Warriors Portal, an online recruitment portal that deploys volunteer health workers to health facilities that treat Covid-19 patients.
- Distributing PPE to health workers: The shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) among health workers is a dangerous stumbling block in coronavirus response efforts. Technical Advisor Dr. Lena Alvior has helped provide PPE to health workers in thirty hospitals across the region of Western Visayas. She also helped distribute PPE to the provincial health office of Antique and Guimaras for their contact tracing efforts. During the period of economic turmoil that the coronavirus has left in its wake, the creation of locally made hazmat suits and isolation gowns provide critically needed jobs to Filipino garment makers.
- Boosting nutrition for quarantined people: During quarantine, with local markets shuttered and supply chains disrupted, many people have faced challenges gaining access to fresh food items. Dr. Gelo Apostol and Dr. Marife Yap have helped the Philippines’ local governments ensure citizens’ access to healthy food through the provision of nutritious food packages. These are an alternative to food relief packages’ usual menu of processed, unhealthy products (e.g., canned goods and instant noodles). The nutritious food packages also support local farmers who are struggling to stay afloat during the economic downturn. So far, they have helped distribute 4,000 healthy food packages to families as of June 25, 2020.
- Risk mapping and monitoring: Data is critical for evidence-driven, efficient responses to coronavirus. Technical Advisor Dr. Gelo Apostol works closely with experts and analysts from top universities in the Philippines to help national, regional, and provincial health authorities assess health system capacities for resilience, monitor vulnerabilities for transmission and mortality across the population, and map the overall risk for health systems to be overwhelmed during the pandemic. The interactive map that Dr. Gelo Apostol and others created can be accessed here.
- Assisting health policy and decision makers: Providing advice to national policy and decision-makers on health issues is ThinkWell’s bread and butter. During this pandemic, Senior Technical Advisor Dr. Marife Yap joined the Department of Health’s daily virtual press briefing to discuss and advise on coronavirus testing efforts.
- Thanking frontline health workers: Filipino health workers have been giving their all over the past few months. Program Coordinator Jem Sigua and Program Analyst Camille wanted them to know that they are appreciated for courageously saving lives. To express their gratitude, they developed a “thank you” video for the health workers who support coronavirus testing across the country.