DOH has three months supply of protective gear against Ebola, Palace says

MANILA, Nov 15 — Malacañang said the Department of Health (DOH) has a stockpile of protective equipment sufficient for three months in case the country has a confirmed case of Ebola fever.

“‘Yung three months po na ‘yon, marami hong suits ‘yon, dahil tandaan natin, paggamit ‘nung isang gear, ng isang PPE (personal protective equipment), once… You use it only once. So meron tayong stockpile na good for three months,” Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said during Friday’s press briefing at the Palace.

Responding to criticisms that the protective gears available in the country are substandard, Lacierda explained that the protective equipment used for training are different from those used during an actual epidemic.

Local health workers were trained by the World Health Organization on how to handle the spread of the Ebola virus and they were briefed on the suitable protective gear, he said.

“Ang protective gear na ginagamit sa training… ay hindi pareho doon sa actual na gagamitin kung sakaling magkaroon ng Ebola incident,” he said, quoting health officials.

Lacierda noted that the protective equipment used for training are cheaper than the ones used by health personnel during an epidemic.

He further said that all protective gears are disposable.

“‘Pag nagkaroon ng isang Ebola incident—pagpasok sa isolated area, a health worker will stay there for around two to three hours, and then paglabas niya ng isolated area, tatanggalin na ito; idi-dispose at susunugin sa incinerator,” he said.

“Ganoon ka-strict ‘yung protocol. But doon sa training, we can assure the public na ‘yung ginagamit na gear… ay hindi ‘yon ang gagamitin natin… in case an Ebola situation arises.”

Lacierda said the need for additional funds to acquire more protective suits would depend on the assessment of the DOH and the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine.

President Benigno S. Aquino III has previously assured that funds are available for use in case of an Ebola contagion in the country. PND