With COVID-19 cases on the rise, Philippines seeks donations of ventilators, respirators

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 30)— The Philippines is seeking donations of additional medical equipment— including ventilators and respirators— amid the rapid rise of COVID-19 cases in the country, the Health Department said.

"When it comes to equipment, basically po ang binibigay sa atin at ang tanging hingi rin naman kung sakali'y tayong nakakapag-request, ay mga ventilators," Health Undersecretary Ma. Rosario Vergeire said in a Laging Handa media briefing on Monday.

[Translation: When it comes to equipment, basically what are given to us and what we're requesting for are ventilators.]

"Gusto natin na dumami pa ang ating ventilators and respirators, sa iba't ibang parte ng ating bansa to prepare for the eventuality kung kailanganin natin," she added.

[Translation: We want to have more ventilators and respirators in all parts of the country to prepare for the eventuality that we would need them.]

Vergeire earlier said the government has "pending requests" to international agencies for donations of the said medical equipment. In a Sunday briefing, she said donations may come in a few weeks' time.

As of DOH's latest record (March 28), there are 84 available mechanical ventilators in hospitals around Metro Manila. Of this number, 39 are in public hospitals.

There are likewise 485 available ventilators outside the capital region, Vergeire noted.

Meanwhile, interns from the University of the Philippines College of Medicine research team are also aiming to develop a prototype respirator for the local frontliners.

The group is looking for donations for the following: Computer Fan 5V DC x 3 units; Pool/Bed Electric Inflator; and 30A Electronic Speed Controller.

The Philippines has recorded 1,418 cases of the infectious disease as of Sunday, including 71 fatalities and 42 recoveries.