155-200 is the number to call. And it’s open 24/7.
The UP-Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH) launched its Bayanihan Na! COVID-19 Operations Center on March 30 to answer queries related to COVID-19, including how to volunteer and donate. [Watch the livestream of the launch]
This, just 13 days after it was initially discussed by UP President Danilo Concepcion, UP Manila (UPM) Chancellor Carmencita Padilla, and UP-PGH Director Gerardo Legaspi; and only a week after UP’s acceptance of UP-PGH’s designation and responsibility as a COVID-19 referral center.
These initiatives are on top of another COVID-19 effort: the field validation by the UPM National Institutes of Health of GenAmplify, the University-developed testing kit.
In partnership with PLDT, which provided 20 lines for the hotline, and the PGH Medical Foundation Inc. (PGHMFI), which will facilitate donations, the University is housing the Ops Center at the Nurses Home within the UPM compound, separate from the UP-PGH. It is currently being manned by 60-70 student volunteers in three shifts, although around 20 to 30 more are needed.
Padilla revealed that volunteer developers from the UP Resilience Institute and the UP Center for Student Innovations, a student organization from the UP Diliman Department of Computer Science, along with Cocoy Mercado of Unexus Medical Solutions Inc. and NowheretogobutUP, were instrumental in fixing the platform and applications to be used in the contact center for efficient data tracking and documentation.
In his message, Concepcion thanked the University’s partners in all its efforts to find solutions to the increasing challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic in the country. He made special mention of the doctors, nurses, and medical and hospital staff, without whom the needs of sick Filipinos will not be addressed.
“Naglilingkod ng buong puso, buong husay, at walang takot, buhay man nila ang nakataya,” (Serving wholeheartedly, with utmost excellence, and without fear, even with their lives on the line) was how Concepcion described the frontliners. He said that they embodied the Oblation by offering themselves to heal the nation.
PLDT Chairman and CEO Manuel Pangilinan, in a message read by UPM Vice Chancellor for Research Armand Crisostomo, called helping set up the Ops Center a “no-brainer” and a “perfect fit” as PLDT has been working to provide communication support to frontline agencies and personnel and UP-PGH has been designated as a COVID-19 referral hospital.
In a video message, PGHMFI President Telesforo Gana Jr. pledged the organization’s willingness to partner with the UP-PGH in this endeavor to protect all the health and institutional workers who care for COVID-19 patients.
Legaspi closed the brief program by announcing that together with the launch of Bayanihan Na!, the hospital was also launching the first ward for COVID-19 positive patients. He thanked St. Luke’s Medical Center for providing 48 electric beds and everyone that donated personal protective equipment and cash for the purchase of such. He added that Citystate Tower Hotel volunteered all its rooms to house hospital personnel. Legaspi also explained that the schedule of volunteers was arranged so that they will have time off to rest and de-stress from the physical, mental, and emotional toll of dealing with the health crisis.
With the launch of the UP-PGH Bayanihan Na! COVID-19 Operations Center, its website has also gone live at https://publicservice.up.edu.ph/uppgh-bayanihan-na/.