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Tawi-Tawi provincial hospital closes after several health workers test positive for COVID-19

COTABATO CITY — The Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO) in Tawi-Tawi province was compelled to shut down operations of the Datu Halun Sakilan Memorial Hospital (DHSMH) due to the number of COVID-19 cases among its staff.

According to Memorandum Order Number 41 released by the Ministry of Health of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (MOH-BARMM) dated September 25, 2020, the hospital has recorded 72 infections among health workers to date, including eight doctors. 

This compelled the hospital chief to implement the shutdown to prevent the spread of the disease.

Officer-In-Charge of the Ministry of Health (MOH-BARMM) Dr. Ameril Usman issued a guidance on September 25 giving authority to the Provincial Health Office (PHO) to pull out or temporarily reassign health workers from other Rural Health Units (RHUs) or hospitals to augment the collapse of health human resources in the affected area.

The PHO may also request the temporary hiring of physicians for this purpose.

The DHSMH was also advised to allocate beds in one wing or ward to be designated an isolation unit for COVID-19 cases. Other wards and wings will be used for non-COVID cases, including emergency cases that need urgent attention.

Consultations and delivery services for newborn babies will be conducted for the meantime in certified lying-in clinics or rural health units (RHW).

“The [BARMM] health ministry is closely coordinating now [with] the IPHO of Tawi-Tawi,” according to Dr. Usman.

On Friday, the Bangsamoro Rapid Emergency Action Response on Disaster Incidence (READi) under the Ministry of Interior of Local Government (MILG-BARMM) immediately dispatched mechanical ventilators that had just arrived from Manila.

“We procured these items through the facilitation of the UNDP as global supply of these machines are in shortage due to COVID-19. These are essentials in aiding COVID patients suffering from respiratory problems and in the whole of the BARMM,” said Minister Naguib Sinarimbo of the MILG-BARMM.

Sinarimbo said they procured a total of 10 units, which will be deployed in strategic hospitals across the region. — BM, GMA News