Instead of asking P11.7 billion to be spent on contact tracers, Sen. Panfilo Lacson is urging the Department of Health (DOH) to just copy simple yet effective technologies deployed by at least two local government units.
In Carmona, Cavite, the local government developed a contact tracing app — the Carmona Covid-19 Tracker. The app, which works on Android and iOS, can use the mobile phone’s GPS to track users’ location history.
The app allows users to log interactions with other people and do self-assessment if they experience symptoms. In just a few days of implementation, the local government has already signed up 42,000 out of the municipality’s 97,557 residents. For those without smartphones, the local government’s barangay and police personnel can input the information for them.
Meanwhile, in Baguio City, the local government under mayor Benjamin Magalong is doing contact tracing using the EndCovid-19 system, which relies on the geographical information system (GIS) platform to plot the areas where possible Covid-19 carriers live — similar to that which Magalong introduced when he was Cordillera regional police chief.
Combined with cognitive interviews and analytical tools, the system has made Baguio City a model for contact tracing.
“With these technologies, we can potentially save P11.7 billion being asked by the DOH for contact tracers. I share Senate President Vicente Sotto III’s sentiment that there are more practical uses for the amount. These may include livelihood programs for those affected by the Covid-triggered lockdowns, among others,” Lacson said.
“Our national agencies, including the DOH, need not look far for contact tracing solutions that are effective, yet are not intrusive. Instead, they must take a cue from our LGUs. Especially given our limited resources, they can do no less.”