FOR government to “weave through the noise.” That was the call of Dr. Tony Leachon, erstwhile special adviser of the National Task Force Against Covid-19 Chief Implementer Sec. Carlito Galvez Jr. For breaking collegial code, government severed him from official function.
The good doctor may have bowed out, but not without leaving behind through his public statements a glimpse of what might have gone wrong in government’s efforts in the Covid-19 fight. In fact, Leachon had upped his social media presence to air more of his thoughts. Disgruntled individuals, indeed, turn into good sources for insider stories.
He had criticized the Department of Health (DOH), saying it had “lost focus” on its priorities in containing the infections. He had also pointed out three weak links in the management—“lack of sense of urgency, problems in Covid data management and transparency in communication process.”
Here we would like to examine if these weak links are specifically true in the Cebu City scenario.
We have been trying to get a full picture of just how our health care system is faring at this point in our fight. The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) in its decision to bring the city back to enhanced community quarantine, had already pointed out the barometers in which Cebu City performed dismally.
Last week, the Perpetual Succor Hospital (PSH) released an infographic sheet dated June 15, 2020, showing the state of its facilities and personnel. The hospital’s 34 Covid-dedicated beds had been filled up. All of its eight Covid ICU beds are also occupied. Its workforce has been severely amputated with three doctors, 19 nurses and 16 personnel under quarantine.
If anything, the PSH situation may be true with the other private hospitals in Cebu City. If there is any government agency that should be at the forefront in letting the public know about the state of our hospitals, it must be the DOH Central Visayas, and yet, Director Jaime Bernadas has been most elusive from the media these days. The agency’s website has not even to this day released any official survey on the state of our private hospitals. What circulate, however, are data from unofficial sources that erroneously enlist the entire bed count of hospital groups even when some of these facilities are outside Cebu City. For instance, it counts all the arsenal of the Cebu Doctors Hospital Group when it only has two of its hospitals within Cebu City territory.
No one else but the public is more interested in cutting through the noise. The Cebu City Government must understand that any suspicion of lack of transparency creates public distrust, a sure way to lose charisma while you manage the populace in this crisis.