AKSYON Demokratiko vice presidential candidate Dr. Willie Ong is pushing for the building of an Infectious Disease Hospital so that the country will be better prepared to deal with a similar Covid-19 pandemic in the future.
And with most of the hospitals in Metro Manila again nearing peak occupancy due to the new surge in Covid cases, Ong said having a hospital dedicated to infectious diseases can come a long way in addressing the problem of hospital congestion every time there is an upswing in infections.
“Etong pinapangarap nating infectious disease hospital, actually matagal ko ng iniisip, sana meron talagang dedicated eh. At ang maganda dito sa infectious disease hospital, may bahay for healthcare workers to avoid infecting their loved ones,” the 58-year-old cardiologist and internist said Wednesday over his Facebook account.
Ong and his wife, Doc Liza, visited the Philippine General Hospital on Wednesday afternoon to get an update from PGH spokesperson Dr. Jonas Del Rosario regarding the Covid-19 situation in the country’s premier government hospital.
Del Rosario told Ong that even before the surge in Covid-19 cases due to the Omicron variant, he and other doctors are already proposing for a return of PGH to its original mandate of being a general hospital rather than a Covid-referral hospital.
Del Rosario said if he has his way, the Infectious Disease Hospital he has in mind will have a 1,000-bed capacity. “I think the government should invest in a hospital na talagang pang pandemic,” he said.
“Willing nga kami to appoint ‘yung iba namin mga nakuhang donation at resources. Ibigay namin doon na para talagang i-centralized natin, andun parang nagkaroon tayo ng Wuhan Hospital. Parang ganoon no. Mas madali ang gamutan, centralized at ‘yun na lang ng ‘yun (infectious disease) ang gagamutin,” Del Rosario said.
“Kaya sana dumating ‘yung time, forward-looking, na magkaroon na ng Infectious Disease Hospital. At kung kailangan ng tulong ng PGH, magpapadala na lang tayo ng mga espesyalista don. Kumbaga, tao na lang ang ipadadala namin doon para ‘yung ospital natin na PGH ay kung ano talaga ang mandato na it’s a general hospital po,” Del Rosario added.
Ong’s goal is for all public hospitals to have a heart center, a dialysis center, a lung center, and a kidney center so that people from the provinces will no longer travel to Manila to seek medical attention. He also wants to establish a Cancer Institute of the Philippines.
Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority also showed that deaths due to the COVID-19 virus identified only accounted for 5.7 percent of the total deaths from January to June 2021, making it the fifth leading cause of death for that period, behind ischemic heart diseases (18.7%); cerebrovascular diseases (10.2%); neoplasms or “cancer” (9.0%); and diabetes mellitus (6.5%).
With the Omicron variant of Covid-19 currently unleashing havoc in Metro Manila and other parts of the country, Del Rosario said PGH’s operation has been greatly affected as close to 1,000 of their healthcare workers have been infected by the virus.
“Totoong napakabilis kumalat ng Omicron. Ang isang naging problema namin ang ating health care workers close to 1,000 na healthcare workers ng PGH ang nagka-Covid. Starting January hanggang ngayon, 937 ang Covid positve. So need mo yan i-pullout at isolate for 10 days,” Del Rosario said.
With PGH being a Covid-referral center, Del Rosario a total of 301 patients are currently being treated at the hospital.
“Sa ngayon base sa latest data we have 301 patients na po na may Covid. Unti-unti na namin ini-increase ang Covid beds on a per need basis. Nung huling surge ng Delta pinakamataas na bilang ng beds ay 350 beds. Almost 90% na ‘yan,” Del Rosario said.
“About 40% of the cases are severe, 50% moderate, and 10% ang mild. We priotize ‘yung mas malala. From time to time may namamatay din. We still have enough oxygen tanks unlike nung September (last year) during the Delta surge,” he said.
Del Rosario, whose parents died as a result of Covid-19, stressed that Covid-19 is very much real and that those who are saying that the virus is just a hoax or part of a conspiracy should think twice.
“Malaking bagay ang immune system mo. Malaking bagay ang pagiging vaccinated. Omicron is also not the beginning of the end for Covid. That is not true,” Del Rosario said.