The frontliners’ prayers for Good Friday

By: Delta Dyrecka Letigio, Gerard Vincent Francisco April 10,2020 - 09:11 PM

Representatives from the Cebu City Health Department pose while wearing protective gear at the Influenza-Like-Illness (ILI) Cluster Clinic inside the Cebu City Sports Institute in Barangay San Nicolas. | Photo Courtesy of Dr. Suyenne Garde

CEBU CITY, Philippines — While the majority of Cebu City residents are staying in their homes this Good Friday due to the enhanced community quarantine, many health workers still go to work to fight the deadly COVID-19 at ground zero.

The ground zero for the city is a cluster clinic in Barangay San Nicolas Proper where patients with influenza-like-illnesses (ILI) are brought from the barangays to be treated.

ILIs are highly susceptible to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), although they are not necessarily infected by the virus.

They must be monitored closely and quarantined. They are also one of the priorities for testing next to those with severe respiratory illnesses (SARI).

Dealing with these patients place the doctors, nurses, medical technologists, and respiratory therapists at extreme risk of catching the virus, themselves.

Yet for these modern-day heroes, it is simply a call of duty.

Such is Doctor Suyenne Garde, a medical officer of the City Health Department (CHD) currently assigned in the Barangay San Nicolas Proper cluster clinic.

This is the cluster clinic inside the Cebu City Sports Institute in Barangay San Nicolas.  | Gerard Francisco

“Wait lang gihapon mi sa mga patient bisan mingaw karong Good Friday. We have to be on stand-by in case ang mga barangay health centers naay dalhun nga patient,” said Garde.

(We are still waiting even if there are not a lot of patients this Good Friday. We have to be on standby in case the barangay health centers bring in a patient.)

Garde said what the health workers really need as of the moment is food as many of the food stalls including convenience stores have closed down due to the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

Although they receive many donations from the private sector and they also get to bring food from home, they still struggle for their meals as resources are always limited.

Even donations do not always come and they have to be prepared with food supplies from their own pockets.

Aside from food, Garde said they are also in need of more personal protective equipment (PPEs) for their protection while handling probable cases.

Despite these struggles, Garde never forgets to pray. Her family prays the rosary and the Way of the Cross at home.

Her number one prayer is for this pandemic to end.

“Unta mahuman na ni. (We hope this pandemic will end),” said Garde.

One of the stations at the ILI Cluster Clinic is a swabbing area for patients with symptoms of COVID – 19 | Gerard Francisco

Rosie Satura, a Barangay Health Worker from Barangay San Nicolas stationed at the cluster clinic, said that being a frontliner is a daunting challenge during a time when everyone is at risk of contracting the disease.

She said that no matter how difficult things get, she will serve as much as she can for the people.

Satura hopes for more PPEs to come as they lack the essential equipment to protect themselves.

A volunteer sits on a chair while waiting for patients to enter the ILI Cluster Clinic at the Cebu City Sports Institute in Barangay San Nicolas | Gerard Francisco

The health workers are the soldiers in this modern-day battle against an unseen enemy. And all they ask is for people to stay at home and keep the virus out from their households.

They also seek the prayers and support of the public that they will remain safe as they man the forefront of this dangerous battle. /rcg


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TAGS: 'enhanced community quarantine', cluster clinics, COVID-19, frontliners, Good Friday, health workers, Holy Week, prayer

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