Communities & Civil Society Responds to COVID-19 in Philippines
> Communities & Civil Society Actions and Solidarity in Response to COVID-19 > Communities & Civil Society Responds to COVID-19 in Philippines
Responses to MDR-TB
To respond to MDR-TB, the treatment modality for MDR-TB patients have been changed for MDR-TB patients to receive drugs for a week rather than visiting the treatment centre daily prior to the lockdown implemented by the government due to COVID-19. Healthcare providers also visit communities to check on the patients and give them their next batch of medicines, those that are taking injectable medications have been connected to treatment partners that can administer these injections.
Responses by PLHIV-led Organisations
A number of PLHIV CBOs in the Philippines have taken the initiative to develop an online referral mechanism that connects the PLHIV community to ARV treatment hubs. ARVs are also being sent to PLHIV via available courier services.
One of the PLHIV groups is managing the ARV access by informing people where and how they can access drugs nearest or most convenient to them even though they are registered in a different ARV treatment hub.
Another PLHIV group has created an infographic of the Philippines map to showcase the locations of the ARV treatment hubs for the convenience of the PLHIV community and a “call centre” is being maintained by another PLHIV group to gather complaints and concerns of the community.
ACHIEVE, Inc. is a non-stock, non-profit organization based in Quezon City, the Philippines and implements programmes and projects addressing HIV and AIDS, gender, sexuality, human rights and migration issues.
Since the lockdown of Metro Manila on 15th March 2020, ACHIEVE has taken measures to ensure that its staff is working remotely and that the financial needs of the staff are met.
ACHIEVE is also monitoring the situation faced by the communities they work with. The most common issue being raised has been financial needs as the communities they work with are from economically and socially marginalized populations. In order to respond to these needs, ACHIEVE has realigned funds from several projects with the approval from the donors to provide financial assistance to 31 families so far.
ACHIEVE has also been contributing technical expertise to the development of emergency responses especially for people living with HIV and TB to ensure their access to treatment is uninterrupted and has been clarifying government policies and guidelines that are associated with access to treatment for PLHIV and TB communities such as the social amelioration package that has just been developed by the Government. ACHIEVE is also part of a group that provided inputs to develop key messages for adolescents living with HIV in order to share accurate information on prevention and management of COVID 19 and to reduce panic and has also provided inputs to the City Government on augmenting the healthcare manpower. Upon the request of the City Health Office, ACHIEVE has connected the City Health Office with organizations that work with associations of midwives and nurses in order to mobilize health care workers for the COVID-19 response in the Philippines.
Individually, ACHIEVE staff is also volunteering in their villages to pack relief goods for residents, to assist PLHIV to reach treatment centres; or simply sharing cash and food with those in need in their own communities.