The World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday blamed the local government units’ (LGU’s) poor compliance of the Department of Health’s (DOH’s) guidelines, a reason why in some areas there is still a continuing increase of COVID cases in the country.
The WHO described as a “worrying situation” the LGU’s poor compliance with DOH guidelines.
On the other hand, during the regular Laging Handa briefing, Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe, WHO representative to the Philippines, praised the DOH guidelines on managing positive cases and putting them on quarantine as “very good.”
However, compliance with the guidelines “does not seem to be universally good,” Abeyasinghe said.
“The DOH issued very good guidelines in managing positive cases, how to quarantine them, but the implementation in local government units is different,” Abeyasinghe said.
“We see poor compliance with guidelines, we see [the] number of [COVID-19] cases increasing, and this is actually becoming a worrying situation,” Abeyasinghe said.
Pending the discovery of a vaccine, the WHO official said countries, including the Philippines, should heavily invest on non-pharmaceutical interventions such as contact tracing to minimize the health and economic impact of COVID-19.
“What we are advocating is that the DOH and the government invest in expanding testing capacity and contact tracing so we can isolate and prevent further transmission,” he said.
“Unfortunately, this aspect of Philippine response needs strengthening,” Abeyasinghe said.
Abeyasinghe said there has been improvement in the country’s contact tracing efforts in the last month “but it is not keeping pace with the expansion of testing capacity.”
While the Philippines has the capacity to conduct 60,000 COVID-19 tests per day, the actual COVID-19 tests done per day is just around 15,000 due to lack of laboratory supplies./Stacy Ang