Presidential aspirant Vice President Leni Robredo bares problem with Bayanihan E-Konsulta. (Photo by Jay Ganzon / OVP)
MANILA, Philippines — Vice President Leni Robredo admits that her office is overwhelmed by patients requesting telemedicine help since the 400 slots are filled within minutes of the channels opening.
Robredo said that the Vaccine Express and Swab Cab, drive-through vaccinations and mobile testing are easier to manage since partnerships with the local governments are involved on Thursday’s ABS-CBN News Channel’s Rundown.
She, however, explained that this is not the case for the Bayanihan E-Konsulta, which relies on volunteers and the Office of the Vice President (OVP) staffers for manpower.
Robredo said that vaccine Express and Swab Cab are a bit easier to manage since they don’t travel without partnering with local government units so that the protocols don’t overlap. However, Bayanihan E-Konsult is proving the most problematic.
“Bayanihan E-Konsulta is […] a free telemed service where doctors and non-medical personnel make bridge calls, et cetera, as volunteers. However, because of the onslaught of patients wanting to be covered by the program, we are having a hard time in this particular surge,” Robredo said in Filipino.
She said a quota of 400 consultations a day is needed to ensure that those seeking assistance will receive it, with the DOH reporting 56,561 cases on January 6, 2022, to 270,728 on Wednesday.
“‘I think January 3 was the first day of a severe surge, and we numbered 400 after three hours and thirty minutes. And then the following day […] maybe two days over an hour. Since then…I have not seen today’s reports… but yesterday, we closed after nine minutes.,” Robredo added.
Early January, concerns about slots in Bayanihan E-Konsulta being filled up were raised by the Vice President, as it indicated a looming increase in COVID-19 infections.
She said they also needed the quota as many OVP staffers also contracted the disease and, therefore, we’re unable to help respond to telemedicine queries.
Several OVP staffers has contracted COVID-19 and cannot assist with telemedicine inquiries, adding to Robredo’s concern about filling the Bayanihan E-Konsulta slots.
According to Robredo, OVP has a budget designed to respond to the pandemic, so they’re putting more resources into the health crisis. On top of that, they have already built a network of partners and volunteers who have helped during disasters and COVID-19.
Since the pandemic last year, she said they made sure our budget, the OVP’s budget, was already a COVID-19 budget, which meant all non-essential, non-COVID items would have been put on hold, ensuring our budget is responsive to the crisis we’re experiencing.
“Number two, we’re actually very fortunate that since 2016, we have Angat Buhay already […] and the main design of Angat Buhay is really a collaboration between our office and many private and development partners. So because we have a network of volunteers, we have a network of partners already, it was really easy for us to you know, ask help from people who can give help,” she added.
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