DOH cites varying ‘settings’ as Philippines records most COVID-19 cases in Southeast Asia

08-Aug-2020 Intellasia | PhilStar | 6:50 AM Print This Post

Comparing the caseload of the Philippines with other Southeast Asian nations requires an understanding that countries have varying population and healthcare capacities, the Department of Health said Friday

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said this after the Philippines eclipsed Indonesia as the country with the highest number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infections in the region.

“We have to be very cautious when we try to compare our numbers with other countries,” Vergeire said.

The health official said countries have different “settings” and health systems.

“So when we try to benchmark with other countries, it is okay. But when we compare numbers, we need to consider also the capacity of each country, the population of each country,” she added in a mix of English and Filipino.

The Philippineshome to 108 million peoplereported Thursday 3,561 additional infections, bringing the country’s total to 119,460.

This is higher than Indonesia’s confirmed cases of 118,753. Indonesia has a population of at least 267.7 million.

The Philippines recorded 2,150 deaths, while Indonesia logged 5,521 deathsthe highest in the region.

Singapore, meanwhile, has 54,555 COVID-19 cases with only 27 deaths. Singapore is a city state with at least 5.6 million population.

In terms of population ratio versus number of cases, the Philippines has 1,058 cases per million people, Indonesia has 427 cases per million and Singapore has 9,273 cases per million, according to Our World in Data.

The Philippines has been seeing a spike in COVID-19 cases following the easing of movement restrictions that came with the reopening of the economy in June.

“We are continuously strengthening our efforts in order for us to be able to manage properly and appropriately the cases that we have now,” Vergeire said.

UN: Philippines’ healthcare system ‘concerning’

The United Nations said in a report released July 30 that while other Southeast Asian countries have good healthcare system, the situation in Myanmar and the Philippines is “particularly concerning.”

According to the report, the Philippines only has two nurses and midwives per 10,000 individuals, which is the lowest in the region. This is even lower than the proportion in Lao PDR, Myanmar and Cambodia of 10 nurses and midwives per 10,000 people.

Singapore, meanwhile, has the highest with 72.

Filipino nurses and other health care professionals have been leaving the country for jobs abroad because of low wage and poor working condition at home.

It also noted that the Philippines only has 10 hospital beds per 10,000 people. Myanmar and Cambodia, have nine and eight beds per 10,000 individuals, respectively.

Medical workers warned over the weekend that the healthcare system could collapse as a result of increasing number of coronavirus patients. This prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to impose a two-week lockdown in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Risal, Cavite and Laguna.


Category: Philippines

Print This Post