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By: Vanessa Almeda | Published Friday, May 01, 2020
PUMs in Cebu Province will be subjected to swab tests next week. Meanwhile, traditional home remedies to treat cough and colds are now a part of the protocols each town health centers and barangay clinics will use in treating those with influenza-like illness. (Junjie Mendoza)

The Cebu Provincial Government will be using a three-pronged strategy in its continued fight against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) through aggressive swab testing, house-to-house visitation, and alternative home remedies.

Governor Gwendolyn Garcia has instructed that swab testing or the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing will now be mandatory for persons under monitoring (PUMs), influenza-like illness (ILI) and severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) cases in the province.

Starting next week, over 5,000 PUMs in the province will be subjected to the swab tests.

"Mao ni ato direction and this is with the approval of the DOH," Garcia said.

The Department of Health (DOH) 7 will provide 2,000 swab kits while the remaining will be shouldered by the Capitol.

But she said she will also tap the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (OPAV), which will spearhead a separate massive testing in the cities of Mandaue, Cebu and Lapu-Lapu next week, to share some of their available swab kits.

The governor also offered her salary for the purchase of additional swab kits.

Online medical consultation

The Capitol also signed a memorandum of agreement with Xynapx Technologies, a local medical software startup company which provides online consultation from doctors and medical professionals and medical records management on Thursday, April 30.

Xynapz Technologies developed the software CloudPx and CloudMD, which pioneered in Liloan town, allowing people to consult online with doctors for Covid-19- and non-Covid-19-related medical queries. 

With one singular database for all possible PUMS, ILI or Sari cases, the province can easily track patients using this software.

In a meeting on the same day, the governor instructed municipal and city health officers to require PUMs, ILI and SARI cases to be registered in the WeTrace app.

The online consultation and WeTrace app will further fast-track the contact-tracing procedures of Covid-19 cases in the province, she said.

Home remedies

From the start, Garcia expressed that the Province can never be complacent in its measures against this "silent and dangerous" killer.

When Metro Manila, Luzon and other areas are talking of lifting the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), the governor was already looking at shifting Cebu Province to a modified ECQ with the goal of redirecting to an agribusiness-based economy.

Now, Garcia wants to take the step towards arming its constituency with a better and stronger immune system to fight off Covid-19.

"Why don't we give the people in the province a fighting chance nga kaya pa sa ilang system. Let's focus on building up our immune system by using home remedies which is readily available," she said.

Aside from the continued strict border controls, the governor called on the mayors to increase their intervention on strengthening the health of their constituents. 

"Kun mahimo magpa-distribute og vitamins sa mga barangays. Let us encourage this. Naay daghang lemonsito, luy-a. Unya mananom ta. Take advantage of what is there," Garcia said.

In a meeting with MHOs and CHOs, it was agreed that providing home remedies like steam inhalation, drinking of ginger tea, sunlight exposure, and daily exercise will form part of the protocols that each town health centers or barangays clinics will use in treating ILIs. 

The governor also urged them to work together with barangay health workers in the aggressive monitoring of their respective ILI cases and checking on households for anyone not feeling well.

She emphasized that early detection of sick constituents can allow for early intervention to be offered.

Garcia added that DOH 7 Director Jaime Bernadas also encouraged wellness by boosting people's immune system. 

"Let us also focus on wellness. It is not just sige ra tag take in og chemicals produced by big pharmaceutical companies, after all unsa kaha na nga mga chemicals atong gi-intake. Why don't we go natural," she said.

The governor instructed local government units to provide Vitamin C and multivitamin supplements to their respective constituent barangays. 

She also tapped the towns of Asturias and Alegria for the supply of calamansi and turmeric, which can also boost the income of local producers.

"Why don't we go natural (and use) tried and tested home remedies nga sukad pa sauna nga panahon. I have always advocated heritage and this is also part of heritage, kaning kinaraan nga pagtratar sa sip-on ug ubo ug pagpalig-on sa lawas," Garcia said. (Vanessa L. Almeda)