DOH: ‘Unfair’ to compare PH to countries with better health systems

By: Krissy Aguilar - Inquirer.net | January 29,2021 - 09:02 AM

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday, January 29, 2021, decried the “unfair” comparison of the Philippines with other countries that have better health systems in assessing government responses to the Covid-19 pandemic.

This, as the Philippines ranked 79th out of 98 countries in terms of performance in the fight against Covid-19 as shown in a study by an Australian think-tank.

While the DOH is open to these kinds of academic exercises and data that help the government assess its response, DOH spokesperson Undersecretary Ma. Rosario Vergeire said, “there are differences in how we contextualize our response within the country.”

“It should be taken in a complete manner where we are being compared to other countries also which have different health systems across the globe,” Vergeire said in an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel.

“So comparing us with [the] United States, comparing us with Thailand which have better health systems from the start compared to the Philippines, I think it’s not at all fair or I think it’s not alright,” she added.

Vergeire noted that the study “did not measure the response that has been undertaken by each of the countries.”

“If you would notice here in our country, we measure our response in a multi-dimensional manner looking at outcomes and looking also at granular aspects of doing the response like doing at contact tracing, doing surveillance efforts and all,” the Health agency official said.

“And another thing, our parameters would always include not just the number of cases and deaths but also looking at the capacity of our health systems so that we will have a more complete picture of how we are gauging or how we are measuring in this response,” she went on.

According to Lowy Institute’s COVID Performance Index, top performer countries in the Covid-19 response are New Zealand, Vietnam, and Taiwan.

In Southeast Asia, the Philippines only bested Indonesia in its response but was below countries like Myanmar, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

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TAGS: COVID-19, DOH, health care, Ma. Rosario Vergeire, PH COVID

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