We already heard a lot of stories about our new breed of heroes — the professional health workers who are sacrificing even their lives in the war against the Covid-19 pandemic.
As of the latest, 20% of the more than 8,000 Covid-19 cases in the Philippines, roughly about 1,600, are said to be health frontliners.
But little is heard of the Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams who are the frontliners in the fight against the pandemic right in the grassroots level.
On March 2020, the national government ordered the activation of BHERTs in every barangays all over the country to help the LGUs in the monitoring and prevention of the spread of Covid-19.
In Memorandum Circular 2020-018, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said the BHERTs should visit the home of arriving passengers from a coronavirus-infected country within the locality.
Here in the City of Mati, a month before the DILG order, BHERTs were already activated by the City of Mati LGU in anticipation to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The BHERTs had long been tapped by the Mati City Health Office during cases of outbreak of infectious disease like measles.
The City of Mati LGU activated a total of 34 BHERTs in all 26 barangays. Each BHERT is composed of five personnel — midwives, DOH-HRH, barangay health worker and barangay tanod.
A BHERT member must be a legal settler of the said barangay, healthy with no co-morbidities, non-senior, and oriented on Covid-19 precautions.
They are also made to undergo training on COVID-19 guidelines and management.
BHERTs are tasked for contact tracing, daily monitoring of the PUMs and PUIs in their barangays and reporting the same to the Incident Management Team.
Despite their humongous tasking, BHERTs were only given a meal allowance of P1,500. Luckily, in a latest resolution by the City Council and approved by City of Mati Mayor Michelle Nakpil Rabat, BHERTs are included in the P150/day hazard pay for the next six months while the LGU is fighting the pandemic.
On their health security, one PPE is given to every BHERT to be used only by the midwife that will conduct the interview on the suspected patient.
Working since February, about 5 members of the BHERTs had already suffered flu-like symptoms while performing their job. Luckily, none of them have tested positive of Covid-19, so far. (CIO MATI)