Over 80K contact tracers needed for PH expanded contact tracing efforts – DILG

Robie de Guzman

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Thursday said it is looking to hire and train a total of 82,537 contact tracers amid government efforts to expand its contact tracing capabilities.

In a statement, the DILG said they will form part of the contact tracing teams of local government units nationwide to boost the government’s efforts to effectively manage the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Given that the there is still no vaccine or cure to COVID-19, the government needs to train and hire contact tracers who will break the chains of transmission of COVID-19 by identifying those who may have been exposed to the virus and monitoring them daily for 14 days,” DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said.

Año said a proposal has already been submitted to the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-MEID) for the hiring and training of contact tracers.

Under the DILG proposal, the following are the qualifications of contact tracers:

  • Preferably graduates of Bachelor’s Degree on Allied Medical Courses, other health-related courses, or Criminology
  • Second priority maybe given to those applicants who have completed at least two years of college education in medical or criminology-related courses
  • Applicants shall preferably have one-year relevant experience and four hours relevant training

Año said that, at present, there are 52,463 contact tracers nationwide who are part of 3,347 local contact tracing teams.

“Per WHO (World Health Organization), the ideal contact tracer to population ratio is 1:800 so to fully cover 108-million Filipinos, we actually need a total of 135,000 contact tracers,” he said.

However, the DILG chief noted that while there is a need to hire 80,000 contact tracers, they only proposed to hire 50,000 since LGUs continue to increase the number of their contact tracers and there are also volunteers from the private sector.

Año said that the DILG expects the approval of its proposal soon and expects to start hiring the additional contact tracers by next month.

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