House panel OKs bill to include dentists, medtechs as vaccinators

August 12, 2021 Jester P. Manalastas 179 views

THE House Committee on Health approved a measure that includes dentists and medical technologists as vaccinators in the government’s COVID-19 vaccine program.

In a virtual hearing, the committee passed House Bill 9345, which seeks to amend Republic Act No. 11525 or the COVID-19 Vaccination Program Act of 2021.

Among the authors of the bill were Quezon Rep. Angelina Tan, Quezon City Rep. Kit Belmonte and Marikina City Rep. Stella Luz Quimbo.

Under the bill, dentists and medical technologies are allowed to administer coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines in light of the need for medical personnel.

With a target of 70 million inoculated Filipinos and to achieve herd immunity, the government is rolling out the vaccination program.

More medical practitioners are needed for the effective and faster rollout of the vaccine, the solons stressed when considering the passage of the bill.

“With the arrival of more vaccines in the country, the swift rollout of the vaccine is needed for the efficient administration and to prevent possible expiration of the doses,” the bill added.

The measure will now be brought to the plenary for further deliberation and final approval.

Likewise, the committee has approved a measure that seeks to strengthen and expand the existing One Hospital Command Center (OHCC) which currently functions to facilitate a comprehensive and coordinated response to the COVID-19 pandemic by ensuring effective and efficient health facility referral in Metro Manila.

Once enacted into law, the proposed ‘National Patient Navigation and Referral System Act’ will institutionalize and broaden the scope of the One Hospital Command System to become the National Patient Navigation and Referral System (NPNRS). Its implementing arm, the National Patient Navigation and Referral Center (NPNRC) and the Regional Patient Navigation and Referral Centers (RPNRC) will expand its scope to navigate patients through the different levels of the health system to reach and access appropriate health facilities.

The NPNRC will also link with the Malasakit Centers across different health facilities to ensure financial risk protection particularly for the indigent and financially incapacitated patients.

OWWA spent P1.27M for hygiene kits — COA

THE Commission on Audit (COA) reported that the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) made cash advances for the procurement of supplies such as napkins and hygiene kits.
In the 2020 audit report for the agency, the COA found out cash advances amounting to P1.27 million for the purchase of supplies which an unnamed official claimed that the items were used by the agency on its COVID-19 response.

State auditors said aside from the overpriced napkins and hygiene kits, these were allegedly bought in a hardware store.

“The propriety and regularity of the expenditures charged to the CA of a deputy administrator totalling P1.269,920 is doubtful due to the awarding of the procurement transactions not to reputable drugstores and supermarkets,” the report said.

“This is an indication that OWWA’s resources were not expended in accordance with rules and regulations,” the COA added.

The COA report showed that an official bought hygiene kits, thermal scanners and sanitary napkins worth P969,920 from a hardware store even though the OWWA Central Office is located near an outlet of a big pharmaceutical retail chain.

Based on the sales invoices, the supplier was MRCJP Construction and Trading with a business address at No. 80 M Cornejo St. Malibay, Brgy 161 Pasay City.

But when verified through ocular visit, the said business establishment was nowhere to be found in that specified address.

Auditors said the napkin was overpriced at P10, P20 and P30 per pad. The said item can be bought only at P5 to P8 per pad.

With regards to the hygiene kit, it was priced at P160 per pouch and the content was not itemized. For the thermal scanner, online shops offer at a price range of P400 to P800 each but the OWWA official listed the purchase of the same at P2,950 each.