Cotabato City (April 16, 2020)—The Bangsamoro Government, through the help of its United Nations (UN) agency partners, has committed to address insufficiency of ventilators in the hospitals across the region.
A ventilator is a machine necessary for treating Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients who suffer from severe pneumonia or Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS).
“In the whole region, only three (3) ventilators are available, and these are all in Maguindanao Provincial Hospital,” BARMM’s Minister of Health Dr. Saffrullah Dipatuan said during a virtual press briefing here Wednesday, April 15, 2020.
“Only those hospitals with Intensive Care Units (ICU) can have ventilators. Sa ngayon, ang hospital sa BARMM na may ICU ay ang Maguindanao Provincial Hospital pa lang,” Dipatuan added.
To address this, Dipatuan said fifteen (15) more ventilators are expected to be installed in the said hospital and other COVID-19 referral hospitals in the region through the help of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
“Bukod doon ay mayroong bumisita sa atin na international relief organization at nag-signify din po sila na magbibigay din sila ng mga ventilators,” Dipatuan added.
Dipatuan said had there been no donations of ventilators, “tayo na po ang bibili ng mga ventilators na yan“.
“Ngunit dahil po mayroong nagbibigay, at malapit na yun ma-i-deliver sa atin, gagamitin nalang natin ang pera [ng BARMM] para dun sa iba pang pangangailangan,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Bangsamoro Government is studying all the possibilities of setting up more laboratories to help speed up the confirmation of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases in the region.
Dipatuan said the ministry is currently coordinating with the Ministry of Public Works (MPW-BARMM) for the possibility of building a COVID-19 testing laboratory in the region.
“Kailangan magpatayo ng separate laboratory building,” Dipatuan said this is because hospital laboratories in the BARMM are not qualified for COVID-19 testing as they lack requirements for certification.
“Alam naman nating kung magpapatayo tayo ng building aabutin po yan ng ilang taon, hindi natin kakayanain. Pero kahit ganun pa man, kinakausap natin yung ating MPW-BARMM kung may possibility bang magkaroon nito. Kung posible, kami na po mismo ang gagawa ng paraan kung papano tayo magkakaroon nito,” he said.
Recently, the Bangsamoro Government has allocated a total amount of ₱14,135,500.00 to Cotabato Regional and Medical Center (CRMC) in Cotabato City for the procurement of medical and laboratory supplies to carry out diagnostic testing for COVID-19.
CRMC is the only hospital within the area of BARMM that is close in meeting the requirements and technical capabilities of conducting laboratory tests for COVID-19.
In Lanao del Sur, 46 housing units at Barangay Emi Punud in Marawi City was converted by the provincial government as community quarantine facility for COVID-19. (Bureau of Public Information)