Feature: What is PIDTR Strategy against COVID-19

Prevention is always better that cure.

Drawing on this adage, the government initially came up with a game plan to strike a healthy balance between responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and revitalizing the economy.

This approach, which the government termed as the "PIDTR Strategy" is now being used to counter COVID-19 spread.

Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III explained that the Prevent-Detect-Isolate-Treat-Reintegrate (PDITR) is central to the National Action Plan towards the “new normal.”

As the COVID-19 pandemic persists and the country continues to feel its effects, the call for economic and health recovery has also amplified.

With the PDITR Strategy, the country refocused its implementation plan from risk avoidance to risk mitigation to help the Philippines toward the new normal with hopes of achieving remarkable and favorable outturn.

Under the Prevent component, the Department of Health is implementing quarantine restrictions and measures, including the observance of minimum public health standards, even in evacuation centers following a disaster.

In its Detect component, contacts in Metro Manila are being profiled with a ratio of 1 case to 6 close contacts traced. This, however, is still far from the original target ratio for the region of somewhere between 1:27 to 1:36.

Also, barangays in the National Capital Region have been active implementers of the Coordinated Operations to Defeat Epidemic response wherein COVID-19 cases are being investigated, households are being visited by contact tracing teams, contacts are being traced and were tested using RT-PCR by registered COVID-19 testing laboratories in the country.
In the Isolate component of the strategy, the DOH said calls are being received and coordinated by the One Hospital Command Center to government hospitals, private hospitals and other concerned agencies. As a result, Temporary Treatment and Monitoring Facilities have been able to transfer several COVID-19 confirmed cases to hospitals, or to quarantine or isolation facilities.

On the other hand, under the Treat and Reintegrate component of the strategy, hospital beds being used by COVID-19 patients are monitored, as well as the utilization rate of mechanical ventilators for COVID cases. Personal protective equipment are also being distributed to healthcare and frontline workers.

“With increased mobilization and coverage of health services, there is now an increase in the number of dedicated healthcare workers willing to provide corresponding services,” the Health Secretary said.

As of 16 November 2020, about 15,814 positions are now open for health service providers. There are now about 10,195 hired health personnel nationwide under the DOH Emergency Hiring Program with 10,654 nurses and 36 doctors deployed in different communities. As of 17 November, 536,180 returning overseas Filipinos were provided assistance to be with their families.

For his part, Presidential Spokesperson and concurrent Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) mouthpiece Secretary Harry Roque said the IATF pushed for improved implementation of the PDITR Strategy to beat the recent surge in COVID-19 cases experienced in the Greater Metro Manila Area or the NCR Plus bubble. The IATF also directed Cabinet secretaries tasked to monitor specific areas  to ensure that proper government support, as well as the strict implementation of health protocols are followed to the letter by the local government units.

Secretary Roque said the government's enforcement of the PIDTR strategy has been "reformed" this time to address the rising number of cases worsened by the prevalence of more contagious variants of the virus.

“Health care utilization, case numbers and the PDITR gatekeeping indicators would serve as the parameters to be assessed for the succeeding weeks risk classification,” he added.

Secretary Duque, on the other hand, remains hopeful on the strategy as he urged for the public's utmost cooperation to curb COVID-19 trajectory.

“We are confident that the PDITR Strategy will further reduce COVID-19 cases and deaths. While we’ve seen an increase in our healthcare capacity, we continue to remind the public to help stop the spread of COVID-19 virus and BIDASolusyon," he said. 

"Walang-sawa po naming uulit-ulitin na palagiang magsuot ng face mask, palagiaang mag hugas or mag-sanitize ng kamay, i-observe physical distancing of at least one meter, at alamin ang tamang impormasyon ukol sa sakit. Non-pharmaceutical interventions are still the best when dealing with COVID-19,” he added. (PIA NCR)

Source: Philippines Information Agency (pia.gov.ph)

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