DOH purchases ₱1.8 billion worth of PPE for frontline health workers

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 30) - The Department of Health acquired one million set of personal protective equipment worth ₱1.8 billion to be given to health workers in referral hospitals for coronavirus patients in Luzon.

In a virtual press briefing on Monday, DOH Spokesperson Rosario Vergeire said each set of PPE contains head gear, goggles, N95 masks, gloves, apron, and gown. She said the agency is currently waiting for the delivery of the PPE.

Vergeire also assured that other public and private hospitals will be given some of those purchased protective equipment.

“Mayroon din po tayong nakalaan para sa ibang pampublikong at pribadong ospital, maging ang mga ospital na labas sa Luzon na ngangailangan ng PPE,” she said.

[Translation: We have also allocated some for other public and private hospitals, as well as for hospitals outside of Luzon.]

Meanwhile, the Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines Inc. said that 12 doctors have died from exposure to COVID-19 due to accute shortage of PPE. The Office of the Vice President and a group of fashion designers recently donated PPE to some hospitals.

Moreover, Vergeire said that DOH is currently studying ways to decontaminate PPE amid the shortage of supplies in the market.

“Ito po ay kasama na sa pag-aaral ngayon ng Kagawaran ng Kalusugan," she said. "In fact, marami na nagrekomenda sa amin, even people from PNRI (Philippine Nuclear Research Institute), na may teknolohiya na puwedeng gamitin para ma-decontaminate ang mga PPE."

[Translation: This is part of the current study by the Department of Health. In fact, many have recommended to us, even people from the PNRI, that there is a technology that can decontaminate PPE.]

Vergeire was referring to a method developed by Duke University in North Carolina, USA to decontaminate N95 respirators so they can be re-worn several times.

She also confirmed that DOH is partnering with private groups who are developing alternatives to the PPE given the shortage.