DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Despite calls for mass testing trending on social media, daily wage earners out on the street no little what this means and how it will help in the fight against the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“I heard of it many times while listening to the morning news on the radio, but I don’t really understand the process,” said Vic, a vendor in the fish section of the Bankerohan Public Market
Vic wasn’t even aware that testing was done among people in Bankerohan last April, which detected one case of infection that led to the closure of some sections.
He said he is not concerned about what and how the government is doing to address the pandemic as he is occupied with how to earn money to survive.
Vic has a family of six, and he hopes sales will help pay the rent for the store, for his apartment in Matina and the monthly bills.
“The truth is I don’t hear anyone trying to explain this to us. Even social distancing is hard to understand if you are living in a small house,” he added.
Efforts were made by government and media in coming out with information materials, and the city owning a radio station which keeps the public abreast of updates and policies from the city government.
But folks like Jeepney driver Nestor find it difficult to understand the terminologies.
“Though I heard of mass testing multiple times already, honestly, to us poor, it is very hard to understand the terms they use to explain how the country is coping up with COVID,” he said.
But Nestor said if mass testing is necessary as a response to the virus, the government should find ways to provide this to the public as soon as possible.
Mass testing became a contentious issue as doctors, health groups, and scientists urged the Department of Health to implement this system at the early onset of the pandemic in March and only started the testing later.
The World Health Organization has emphasized the need for mass testing to track down cases with symptoms and eventually shut down an epidemic.
The clamors were also shut off by presidential spokesperson Harry Roque who said the government is struggling to perform mass testing with only 30 licensed laboratories with challenges to acquire rapid test kits and admitted that tests were mostly sponsored by the private sector.
The DOH is further criticized for delays and errors in their tabulation of testing.
A group of medical practitioners also point out how government units rely on rapid test kits which do not provide an accurate reading on Covid infection.(davaotoday.com)