USAID, partners conduct webinar series to enhance prevention, control of TB, COVID-19
PASIG CITY, June 16 (PIA) — The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), through its TB Platforms project, in collaboration with the Department of Health’s (DOH) National Tuberculosis Program and the Philippine Heart Center (PHC) strengthen infection prevention and control for tuberculosis (TB) and COVID-19 through a webinar series.
Through USAID’s TB Platforms Project, the webinar series on “Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) for TB and COVID-19” engages medical personnel, administrative and support staff to ensure continuous provision of TB services amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the recent webinar, DOH Special Assistant to the Secretary for Universal Health Care and Health Promotion and Communications Service OIC-Director Dr. Beverly Lorraine Ho commended the partnership of USAID’s TB Platforms and PHC.
“The first run of the webinar successfully trained 800 PHC staff and this one has attracted 200 more. This only shows how relevant this online training as we strengthen TB response amid COVID-19,” said Ho, adding that the DOH is one with PHC and USAID in protecting the frontliners is a priority concern during this pandemic.
Ho also expressed her hope that participants would not only learn from the webinar but also to apply the best practices learned in their work.
“I understand how difficult your situation in the health facilities and I know how challenging it is to continue your services as you worry about being infected. I am happy that PHC as an institution is also working with your infection control office to provide the best protection available. We will continue to share updates on the latest guidelines and share them to all of you,” she added.
Likewise, Dr. Joel Abanilla, Executive Director of PHC congratulated USAID and their Infection Control Division for the positive feedback about the webinar.
Participants in the webinar actively took time in raising their concerns and inquiries about the proper handling of personal protective equipment (PPEs), proper use of masks, social distancing in the workplaces, availability of support for those who will get infected while on duty, as well as peer support.
Meanwhile, USAID’s TB Platforms MDRTB/Patient Centered Care Specialist Dr. Christian Villacorte along with the project’s NCF Field Operations Area Manager Dr. Hansel Ybañez and team shared that there will be more webinars on IPC and patient-centered care. In fact, the PHC experience will be the project’s best example that a hospital-wide webinar can be encouraged in NCR where TB and COVID-19 cases are high.
USAID’s Chief of Party Dr. Marianne Calnan also reiterated that IPC measures are implemented in all health facilities even before COVID-19.
“We are just reiterating how IPC can be best applied for TB and COVID Centers to be able to ensure our healthcare workers and patients are protected. We are grateful about the good leadership of our partners here that we are already in our second run for this webinar. Your appreciation and feedback are vital to us so we also learn from your responses,” Calnan said.
USAID’s TB Platforms will meet with the management of PHC to provide capacity building on sustainable TB screening, diagnosis and treatment. The project will also monitor the full implementation of IPC in the health facility during the community quarantine and will provide continuous support as necessary.
Representatives from the DOH NTP, World Health Organization, Philippine Coalition Against Tuberculosis, Radyo Pilipinas and Philippine Information Agency also participated in the discussion.
USAID’s TB Platforms will continue to coordinate with its public and private partners to provide technical assistance in strengthening TB response amid COVID-19.
USAID’s TB Platforms, thru the Philippine Information Agency started its local media outreach in the project’s demonstration sites. This month, the project’s Social and Behavior Change Communication Specialist Diwata de Castro-Paredes will work with PIA-NCR for the promotion of TB response amid COVID-19 on mainstream television, radio and print media.
“The USAID’s TB Platforms team would like to express our sincerest gratitude for the full support of PIA and Radyo Pilipinas. Our staff, especially those who worked with the regional health facilities and LGUs in the province, would be able to reach their stakeholders thru broadcast and online platforms that you are sharing to the project. During these challenging times, we know how your radio programs provide the latest public health information and guidelines. With the thousand followers you have in your social media platforms, we know that we can reach out to a greater number of audiences as well,” Paredes said. (PIA-NCR)