The Philippines needs some 95,000 more contact tracers to boost its response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Department of Health said Wednesday.
The country only has some 38,000 contact tracers at present, far from the 126,000 benchmark to meet the World Health Organization’s standard for the Philippines to have 1 contact tracer for every 800 people, Health Undersecretary Rosario Vergeire said.
“Ito pong 95,000 ng sinasabi amin pong hihingiin ang tulong ng ating mga local government unit para makahanap po nitong mga contact tracers na ito (We will ask the help of local government units for the hiring of 95,000 more contact tracers.),” Vergeire said.
Contact tracing is usually initiated after COVID-19 test results are confirmed and sent to local epidemiology offices, a process that takes 13 days from the time the patient goes to a hospital.
Salaries of the contact tracers are still being discussed but would be in accordance with the provided salary grades of the Civil Service Commission, she added.
“Mayroon po tayong ipapalabas na criteria in the coming days para makapag-start hiring na po ang ating local governments for these contact tracers (The criteria will be released so that our local governments can start hiring contact tracers.),” said Vergeire.
Contact tracing is usually initiated after test results are confirmed and sent to local epidemiology officers. The process takes 13 days from the time the patient goes to a hospital.
The hiring of contact tracers “to boost efforts to stop transmissions and defeat” the pandemic was initially proposed by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez earlier this month to help displaced Filipino workers earn money.
The Philippines has so far recorded 14,669 COVID-19 cases. This includes 886 deaths and 3,412 recoveries.
On Tuesday, the country recorded 350 new infections, the highest number of COVID-19 cases confirmed in a day since April 6./Stacy Ang