#FitnessPH - CSMC partners with OCTA and Go Negosyo for webicon on PH’s COVID-19 exit strategy

In its most recent webicon, "COVID-19: From Pandemic to Endemic," Cardinal Santos Medical Center (CSMC), the OCTA Research Group, and GO Negosyo recently enabled a pertinent and urgent conversation on the country's progress through the COVID-19 pandemic. The webicon took place on Thursday, July 28 via Zoom and Facebook Livestream.

Prof. Ranjit Singh Rye and Dr. Guido David, OCTA Research fellows, were in attendance as speakers, as well as Mr. Jose Maria "Joey" Concepcion, founder of GO Negosyo, Dr. Teodoro "Teddy" Herbosa, special adviser to the National Task Force Against COVID-19, Dr. Anthony "Tony" Leachon, advocate for health reform, and Dr. Rontgene Solante, Dr. Paul Salandanan from CSMC participated as a reactor, and the event was coordinated by the vice president and head of human resources at CSMC, Ms. Lucky Diaz-Tiozon.

Rye and Concepcion began the webicon with a conversation that drew upon the recent State of the Nation Address (SONA) delivered by President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. Rye and Concepcion discussed ways to implement policies that will aid the nation's economic development and reduce COVID-19 while sustaining the current economic recovery.

David compared the Philippines' current COVID-related statistics to figures during other surges in order to give a factual, evidence-based analysis of recent COVID-19 trends. Solante, on the other hand, gave an overview of the numerous viral strains, how they differ from one another, and the real-world experiences of medical professionals who have to deal with it.

Herbosa discussed the difficulties that different industries were experiencing as a result of the pandemic and offered his suggestions for possible exit options that could be investigated in order to better prepare for future threats. Following this, Leachon discussed the precautions that should be taken in order to recover from the pandemic, and Salandanan shared his own perspectives as the in-house infectious disease specialist at CSMC.

The webicon was finished with an open forum session involving all of the presenters and panelists, where they dispelled any myths about vaccinations and COVID-19 testing and emphasized the significance of cooperating to protect the health and welfare of the Filipino people.

“What is important is capacity building,” said Herbosa. “We need to build up our capacity in terms of policy formulations in vaccines, emergencies and pandemics.”

“As we move from pandemic to endemic, one of the key elements of any national exit strategy [is to] really ensure access to quality testing,” added Rye. “Apart from expanding treatment facilities [and making them accessible], we really need to deal with testing. The state has to [find ways to] provide quality antigen testing and [improve the] reporting of these results.”

“Getting the first and second booster will protect our healthcare utilization because we are [preventing] people [from] developing the more severe form of COVID, especially if [they] have comorbidities,” said Solante.

“The way forward is really informing our public more so that [they] can make better decisions. It is important for us to come up with a holistic and comprehensive plan for everything, whether it is expanded testing and treatment, information campaigns, [or] even just sustaining our booster and vaccine programs,” stressed Rye. “We need to come up with a comprehensive national COVID strategy. That is the challenge for this new administration.”

For more information about the programs and services that CSMC offers, please visit https://cardinalsantos.com.ph/. CSMC is also on Facebook, like and follow them at www.facebook.com/CardinalSantos.

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