As the importance of Universal Healthcare (UHC) plays a vital role amid the COVID-19 pandemic,
the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) reintroduced the Barangay Health Response Teams (BHERTs) as a support group, hence, their driving force must be strengthened and sustained.
Health officials led by Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III emphasized the role of BHERTs, reiterating that they are the country’s first line of defense in the communities, especially in the far-flung areas.
DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya explained that each local government unit’s BHERTs carry a big responsibility and require adequate support in fulfilling their mission.
Initially, the immediate program of the DOH and DILG was to push for equipping BHERTs with proper protective gear and other requirements from hygiene to infection control.
Secondly, BHERTs are the frontrunners in the 50,000 target contact tracers of the DILG. (We tagged them as knights in shining armor–Ed).
Consequently, the DOH and DILG will tap the National Barangay Operations Office to conduct a retooling of BHERTs in different regions of the country to ensure they are activated, functioning, and are able to deliver the necessary service required of them.
Since the pandemic started, the actual situation showed BHERTs conducting home visits for active case finding. They also conduct contact tracing and monitoring of those in home-quarantine. In case there are signs or symptoms of COVID-19, they will refer the patient to the designated quarantine facility or health facilities, also known as temporary treatment and monitoring facility, for proper treatment.
Finally, BHERTs are crucial in enhancing the UHC law which specifies that each home in the country must have one barangay health emergency response team assisting them.
Apparently, the BHERTs carry more responsibilities than what they are called for.
They work hand in hand with the national government in implementing necessary health programs, standards, protocols, and updates in each household they are protecting. (DOH)