COVID and disasters: PH health care post-Odette

| Written by Deina Blancaflor

The University of the Philippines (UP), in partnership with UP Manila NIH National Telehealth Center and cooperation with UP Philippine General Hospital (PGH), invites you to join the fight against COVID-19.

Last December 16 to 17, the strongest typhoon of 2021, Typhoon Odette (Rai), hit the Philippines. Odette’s rapid intensification in just 24 hours made it difficult for authorities to prepare and evacuate. The typhoon affected 11 out of 17 regions and ravaged more than 36 million homes, leaving nine million Filipinos displaced and scrambling.

Odette happened simultaneously in the early stages of the Omicron surge. Today, there are at least 150,000 people still living in evacuation centers. A majority still have no access to water and electricity. Two hundred and twenty health facilities were also damaged, making access to primary care, mental health programs, and even COVID-19 vaccination rollouts difficult.

On top of this, Omicron is gradually gaining a foothold outside the National Capital Region. How, then, can our health workforce prepare for the double whammy of COVID-19 surges amid super typhoons? As the third most disaster-prone country in the world, what are the long-term preparations and adjustments needed to protect us and our healthcare frontliners? How do we save everyone from disease outbreaks in massive evacuation centers?

In this episode of the UP “Stop COVID Deaths” webinar series, titled “COVID-19 Na, May Bagyo Pa! Paano Na?”, we will take a step back and look at the impact of Typhoon Odette with consideration of the risks of the current Omicron surge. Join us this Friday, February 4, from 12 pm to 2 pm to hear the discussions of the Department of Health (DOH) Undersecretary for Visayas and Mindanao, Dr. Abdullah B. Dumama, Jr.

Dr. Mariella S. Castillo of UNICEF will also talk about displacement and its impact on children. Finally, Dr. Carlos Primero Gundran from UP Manila will discuss public health policy, preparedness, and response implications for typhoons and infectious disease outbreaks.

Former UP PGH Director and DOH Undersecretary Dr. Johnny Nañagas will deliver the opening remarks. UP Manila Chancellor Dr. Carmencita D. Padilla will provide the closing synthesis.

Register here and catch our weekly live tweets and streams via the UP System Twitter Account and TVUP’s YouTube and Facebook pages.

The Stop COVID Deaths Webinar Series is the Philippines’ first and only frontline-focused medical webinar series. It pioneered the discussion, dissemination, and adoption of knowledge on COVID-19 treatment and management. Follow our accounts to stay connected with your credible online community. Together, let’s stop COVID deaths!