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Vergeire: Pinoy medical team in Turkey to boost PH's chance in WHO initiative

The deployment of the Philippine medical team to Turkey to provide assistance to earthquake victims would help the Philippines get verified under the World Health Organization's Emergency Medical Teams (WHO-EMT) initiative, Health officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire said Wednesday.

Vergeire made the remark during the welcoming of the return of the 30-man Philippine Emergency Medical Assistance Team (PEMAT), which was part of the Philippine Inter-Agency Humanitarian Contingent (PIAHC) sent to Turkey.

In her message, Vergeire said PEMAT's deployment served as a step towards the country's goal to be verified based on the standards set by the WHO-EMT initiative.

DOH said in a message to reporters that the PEMAT is currently undergoing the verification process for such, and its deployment in Turkey “gives a chance to test our readiness and enhance our preparation to finally be classified” in the WHO-EMT initiative.

To ensure that quality health services are being provided, members of the WHO-EMT initiative are expected to:

  • declare skills and services provided;
  • report regularly during the response;
  • maintain confidential patient records and arrange referral plans;
  • collaborate with the existing health system and be self-sufficient;
  • ensure supplies and medications meet international standards;
  • maintain standards for hygiene, sanitation and medical waste management; and
  • be prepared to care for team member’s health and safety and repatriation if needed.

Vergeire said the international deployment of the PEMAT not only enriches the competencies of those deployed in disaster risk reduction and management, but also helps nations in times of emergencies where global action is expected.

"Mula sa kaibuturan ng aming mga puso, lubos kaming nagpapasalamat sa pagpapakitang tunay na may malasakit ang mga Pilipino hindi lamang para sa ating mga kababayan kung hindi pati sa ating mga kapatid anumang lahi saan mang bahagi ng mundo," Vergeire said in her speech.

(From the bottom of our hearts, we are very grateful to you for showing that Filipinos really care not only for our countrymen, but also for our brothers and sisters of any race anywhere in the world.)

"Muli, saludo po kami sa inyong katatagan, katapangan, at higit sa lahat, kabayanihan. You are not just medical professionals, you are also heroes," she added.

(We salute your steadfastness, courage, and heroism, above all. You are not just medical professionals, you are also heroes.)

While in Turkey, the PEMAT assisted 1,022 individuals in Adiyaman.

DOH said the team received an overall satisfactory rating of "excellent" from their patients.

Medical supplies and drugs were also donated to the Turkish Ministry of Health amounting to an estimated P1.5 million or 550,00 Turkish Lira.

The 82-man PIAHC returned to the Philippines on Tuesday evening after finishing its mission to help in the rescue and retrieval operations in light of the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria on February 6. —KBK, GMA Integrated News

Tags: news, DOH