Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco T. Duque III is thankful to President Rodrigo Duterte’s praise of the health department’s coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) surveillance and tracking efforts during his regular address to the people on Monday, November 2.

The president noted the health department’s Covid-19 surveillance and tracking of possible outbreaks and the “hardworking” health workers and surveillance units on-ground.  Duterte especially praised Duque’s work as “maganda” (beautiful).

“Ang nahalata ko dito sa panahon mo is the surveillance and the vigilance in keeping track of possible outbreaks, I like that, and you have been doing it. That’s why I cannot find any plausible or even a meager argument for your suspension. Wala akong nakitang ano — ang trabaho mo maganda. The surveillance that you are doing and the vigilance sa public health is amply protected,” President Duterte said.

In a statement, Duque said he was grateful for the president’s praise and recognition of the Health Department’s ground efforts.

“On behalf of the Department of Health, we extend our utmost gratitude to the President for recognizing our efforts, but this is not the success of DOH alone–,” Sec. Duque said.

“This is the success of all DOH units including our Centers for Health Development in the regions, our attached agencies, and our partners on-ground—our local chief executives with their respective local governments, local Epidemiology and Surveillance Units, and Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams (BHERTs)—who work diligently to carry out their duties in helping stop the spread of COVID by detecting and tracking cases of infection,” he continued.

As part of the DOH’s Covid-19 efforts, local health facilities work as the Covid-19 sensors, while the BHERTs navigate the local contact tracing teams. These contact tracing teams work hand in hand with the Epidemiology Surveillance Units.

 “We cannot prevent or minimize the spread of COVID without vigilant tracking and surveillance and it cannot be done without our local surveillance teams,” the Health Chief explained. 

“This is why we, at the DOH, urge the public to not let the efforts of our disease surveillance teams—our frontline healthcare workers on preventing COVID spread—go futile. Let us continue to BIDA Solusyon in our workplaces, our homes, our communities, and everywhere else we go,” Sec. Duque advised.

“Napaka-simple ng ating BIDA Solusyon strategies, ngunit napakalaki po ng maitutulong nito sa ating laban kontra COVID-19. Ugaliing mag-hugas ng kamay ng hindi bababa sa dalawampung segundo, panatiliin ang isang metrong distansya sa bahay man o sa pampublikong lugar, palagiang mag-suot ng face mask at face shield tuwing lalabas ng bahay, at alamin ang tamang impormasyon ukol sa pagsugpo ng COVID-19,” Duque further explained. RJ Espartinez