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Stories from the frontlines

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PGH's Covid-19 testing capacity has been increased with the support of various groups particularly the Lopez Group who donated several machines and equipment which came in this month.

Lopez Group supports PGH in the fight against COVID-19

This is one of the many stories from the frontlines of our battle against COVID-19. It has been a month since Nurse Ara from Philippine General Hospital (PGH) saw her five-year-old son because she does not want to expose her family to the virus. But as she said, “We got to do what we got to do, we are needed here and we must answer our calling.”

This is how most of our health workers face every day amidst the pandemic — with a sense of duty and by being of help however they can, even if it means sacrifice.

Just like any other human being, our health workers are also faced with anxiousness. One of the main problems PGH was confronted with was the lack of testing equipment.This meant that they were only able to test the patients and not the health workers.

PGH Director Dr. Gap Legaspi stressed the importance of testing not just the patients but the health workers too. He pointed out, “It’s the continuous testing that we need to do to make the services in the hospital more safe.And that would require more tests because you’d have to test the patients, you have to test the doctors, ideally, even the watchers, because you don’t want someone coming in and turns out they’re positive.”

After consulting with PGH officials, it was determined that there was an urgent need for testing machines and lab equipment for the hospital sincethe it would be a COVID-19 Referral Center and laboratory of the government and even private hospitals. Seeing this opportunity to help, the Lopez Group donated new machines and lab equipment which would allow the hospital totest more people.

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Dr. Legaspi stated that, “Together with assistance from other government agencies and donors, these machines from the Lopez Group will bring us closer to the target of performing 30,000 COVID-19 RT-PCR tests daily.”

The benefits do not end there, in factit will have a ripple effect, as Dr. Legaspi added, “By strengthening our laboratories, this donation will eventually allow us to serve COVID-19 patients not only from Metro Manila, but also from nearby provinces.”

Still, the effect of this act can already be seen within the community of PGH. Angelo Javillonar, a Neurosciences nurse, expressed his relief that they can already be tested. He said that being uncertain adds stress to them as health workers but now, being able to get tested, somehow relieves them of this added burden.

Another nurse, Angelique Asis-Rosete, who tested negative of COVID- 19, expressed her happiness, not just of knowing but mostly because she could already go back to work and help those in need.

Nurse Ara said that it’s their decision to go home or not but since there is a need for manpower in the hospital, they opted not to go home and to go onduty for the meantime. She plans to see her family soon once she tests negative. When asked if her son knows what his mom is doing she answered, “He knows mom is fighting the virus, but other than that, he’s mad at Mom because she doesn’t get to go home. But mostly, I get to talk to him on a daily basis. As soon as we test everyone, I will have myself tested and be in quarantine. And when I get negative, I will have to go home, at least for three days. And then it’s back to work.”

Just like the many health workers who face this uncertain world with such inspiring determination, everyone has a part in this war against the virus. Every individual must do what they can, even if it simply meansstaying at home. Small acts of kindness are never unimportant; it keeps the gear moving towards this impending victory. It is by working together that we can achieve this future.

The world as we know has changed and it always will. It is in how one faces these changes that sets us apart, giving us that tenacity to help. AsMarcus Aureliusputs it, “You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”This message is relevant for every individual during this time.

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