BARMM records no Covid-19 local transmission

File photo.

THE Ministry of Health in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (MOH-BARMM) reported a total of 100 coronavirus disease (Covid-19) confirmed cases in BARMM as of Tuesday, June 23, 2020.

Dr. Safrullah Dipatuan, minister of health, said that of the 100 cases, 52 are active, with 44 recoveries and four deaths.

Dipatuan said that the province of Lanao del Sur recorded 70 cases; 21 in Maguindanao; six in Basilan; three in Sulu; and the province of Tawi-Tawi remains to be Covid-19-free.

Dipatuan emphasized that to date, there is no recorded local transmission in the region, adding that the “rise in numbers is due to returning BARMM residents classified into locally stranded individuals, returning overseas Filipinos and those availing of the Hatid Probinsya Program.”

Dipatuan recalled that as early as January 13, 2020, BARMM has heightened its alert and advisories to the general public, which included continuous advisories on staying home, maintaining proper hygiene, and boosting the immune system to prevent infection by the virus.

Dipatuan said that in March, the ministry of health has activated its Emergency Operation Center for Covid-19 in all health facilities across BARMM, and has identified designated hospitals for severe persons under investigation and confirmed Covid-19 cases.

“We are continuously providing technical assistance to all of BARMM's Provincial and City Epidemiology and Surveillance Units. This entails assistance in the collection, transportation of specimens, and completion of Covid-19 reporting forms. This also includes contact tracing activities in relation to all confirmed cases,” he said.

“We are all aware of the burden of Covid-19 in our health service delivery, we addressed this by allocating financial support to health offices in BARMM,” he added.

He said the health ministry has given P50,000 to each of the seven surveillance units in BARMM; P2 million to each of the five Integrated Provincial Health Offices; P500,000 to each of the two City Health Offices; P500,000 to each of the 25 hospitals; and, P1 million to the Provincial Government of Lanao del Sur as augmentation fund for the Covid-19 isolation facility in Sagonsongan, Marawi City.

Also, he said the health ministry has also distributed reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) kits to its referral hospitals, provincial health offices and city health offices.

“The allocation of P20,000 for rural health units (RHUs) will be continued beyond this pandemic, and they shall receive it on a monthly basis. The rationale behind this is the fact that RHUs are the primary caregivers and responders at the grassroots level. Thus, we deem it just, and morally sound that they receive this financial assistance,” he said.

To ensure the safety and comfort of to-be quarantined or isolated individuals, Dipatuan said the health ministry has done successive site visits to the various isolation facilities in the mainland provinces --Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur.

Meanwhile, due to the implemented lockdowns in the island provinces of Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi, the ministry has relied on reports from the provincial health officers of the three areas.

Dipatuan said the health ministry has also deployed health workers to Sibakil Island, Lantawan, Basilan to closely monitor and attend to the health needs of the deportees from Sabah, Malaysia, who were isolated in the island.

Dipatuan said they spent an estimated amount of P14 million for the purchase of personal protective equipment, medical supplies and disinfectants, which were distributed to all health facilities in the region, as well as to various ministries and agencies in the BARMM. (SunStar Zamboanga)


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