MTaPS Program Assists the Philippines With COVID-19 Emergency Response

The USAID MTaPS Program is supporting the Philippines in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in the country. The concerted effort is a partnership of USAID with the Philippines Department of Health (DoH), the World Health Organization (WHO), and UNICEF.  MTaPS is assisting in two technical areas critical to managing and controlling the pandemic: infection prevention and control (IPC) and supply chain management of essential emergency commodities.  

COVID-19 Infection Prevention and Control 

MTaPS, in collaboration with the WHO and DoH, launched an online training program on IPC for frontline health workers at the facility level. IPC can break the cycle of COVID-19 spread and save lives by protecting patients and health workers from getting COVID-19. The program, launched on April 8th, trained over a hundred frontline health workers from public and private hospitals in the National Capital Region, Region 3, and Region 4a. Participants consisted of doctors, nurses, midwives, medical technologists, pharmacists, and other health care providers. MTaPS worked closely with the WHO, DoH, and UNICEF in the development of the training material to ensure accurate and up-to-date information. The training covered six important sections: (1) basic information on COVID-19 and IPC strategy; (2) precautions, including physical distancing, droplet, and airborne precautions, hand hygiene, and respiratory hygiene; (3) use of personal protective equipment;  (4) administrative control and patient flow (triage, admission, and transport); (5) linen and waste management; and (6) cleaning, disinfection, and safe management of a dead body. The training is being offered by MTaPS through a real-time online video platform, allowing for large numbers of participants and direct interactions with facilitators and a panel of experts – all accomplished remotely. Two more modules focusing on healthcare waste management and emergency supply chain management preparedness and response are expected to be rolled out in the coming weeks.

Emergency Commodities Supply Chain Management

Lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) and health commodity supplies often compromise the safety of health care workers and their ability to provide essential services in times of an outbreak. Maintaining their supply at health facilities is crucial to combat a pandemic. However, managing emergency supplies is often a nightmare due to massive immediate needs, lack of suppliers, lack of information, and multiple channels of donations and procurement. MTaPS, the Philippines DoH, and the Department of Information and Communications Technology partnered to develop information system solutions for tracking and ensuring essential resources and supplies related to COVID-19 reach the health facilities, where they are needed the most.

MTaPS worked with the DoH to develop a health facility reporting system, data collection mobile application, and a web-based dashboard that automatically tracks all supplies received at the central warehouse of the inter-agency Office of the Civil Defense. The Office of the Civil Defense is managing the COVID-19 emergency response operations. The web-based tool compares the supplies against the needs and current stocks at the health facilities throughout the country, automatically calculating replenishing quantities needed for the facilities to be able to continue the COVID-19 services. The tool also provides logistics status at the national level to the Office of Secretary of Health for a daily press briefing to the public.

USAID’s support to the COVID-19 commodities tracker information system will protect health workers and patients by ensuring that PPE, waste management supplies, and other necessary commodities are available, delivered, and managed appropriately.