Cardinal Santos Medical Center (CSMC) spearheaded a multisectoral discussion with the aim to help build resiliency and preparedness in the fight against COVID-19 through a webicon held via Zoom, last April 23.
The webicon was moderated by Ms Lucky Diaz-Tiozon, Vice President & Head of Human Resources of Cardinal Santos Medical Center. Entitled “Riding the Waves: Fostering Resilience and Responsiveness in a Pandemic,” the webicon brought together representative from the local government, the academe, the healthcare industry, and the OCTA Research Group to discuss how the country can further prepare given the eventuality that it will be faced with more surges in the number of cases.
Dr. Guido David, Fr. Nicanor Austriaco, O.P., Dr. Michael Tee and Prof. Ranjit Singh Rye of the OCTA Research Group opened the webicon with their observations in trends regarding the number of cases, testing, hospital capacity, and other variables. While the number of new cases is seeing a decrease, Dr. Tee specifically noted that there are still several variants currently present in the country and the vacancy in hospitals is dwindling. He implored the public to isolate voluntarily for the sake of the high-risk non-infected. He also called for the improvement of plans and strategies surrounding the roll out of vaccines. Another highlight in the presentation of OCTA is the growing need for more nurses to man our medical facilities to better manage COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila and around the country.
“We need to identify why the surge [in COVID-19 cases] happened, what we did wrong, and what we can do better,” said Prof. Rye in closing the OCTA Research Group’s findings. “So that we can learn lessons from this and not repeat them.”
Meanwhile, representatives of various sectors reacted to the presentation of OCTA and shared their experiences while dealing with the pandemic. The reactors were: Fr. Aristotle Dy, S.J. of Xavier School, Dr. Zenaida Javier-Uy, Vice-President and Chief Medical Officer of CSMC, and City of San Juan Mayor Francisco Javier Zamora.
Dy spoke about the difficulties Xavier School students go through due to distance learning. He noted that many older students signed up for their psychological care and assistance program once the school made it available. He pointed out that ensuring the mental, physical, and emotional well-being of the students can help better facilitate learning. Dr. Zenaida Javier-Uy touched on the struggles of the healthcare sector and how the continuous wave of new cases takes its toll on healthcare workers. She acknowledged that hospitals needed to “think outside the box” to be able to do more for the patients they serve.
“We need to do more than just close our emergency rooms and tell the public that [the hospital is full]. We need to take into consideration the welfare of both our patients and our healthcare workers in order to make a difference,” Javier-Uy said.
Mayor Francisco Zamora also shared the efforts of the local government of San Juan in fighting the spread of the virus. The City imposes hefty fines on quarantine violators to stress “the seriousness [of the situation] to the people” and are one of four cities cited to be complying strictly with the protocols set by the IATF. Brought up during discussions was the idea of post-COVID care clinics for patients who suffered critical cases of the virus and need long-term care, which Mayor Zamora took into consideration. “A lot of people are focused on the current situation [of the pandemic] and not post-COVID care,” he said. “That’s something that we can explore within San Juan and possibly in partnership with the private sector.”
Mr Raymond Ravelo, Vice President & Chief Sustainability Officer of MERALCO, Mr. Jacinto Ng Jr., Group Chief Execution Officer of the Joy-Nostalg Group, and Mr. Eusebio Tanco, Chairman of STI Education Systems and President of Philippine First Insurance and Asia Terminal attended the webicon as guest contributors and representatives of the private sector.
Cardinal Santos Medical Center President Mr. Raul C. Pagdanganan rounded off the event by pointing out how the pandemic has shown the need for improvement in various aspects of life, such as education, healthcare and governance. He called on all the members of the private sector to come together and contribute responsive solutions to the pandemic.
“By sharing our experience, highlighting our successes, and learning from our mistakes, we can all benefit and create a lasting impact on how we tackle the pandemic,” Mr. Pagdanganan stressed. “We implore all sectors of our society to work together, because it is only through unity where we’ll find true recovery.”
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