Mayor Sara opens Central 911 for ‘telemedicine’

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 25 March) – The City Government of Davao has opened the Davao City Central 911 for “telephone medicine” so that patients who need a checkup for their ailments can do so without going to hospitals to avoid the risk of contracting the contagious coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Mayor Sara Duterte said.

In a live interview at the Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR) 87.5, Duterte said the local government has a lineup of volunteer doctors who can accommodate consultations from ailing patients right at the comfort of their homes.

She said the Central 911 operators would link up the patients with doctors.

“You just need to call 911. The 911 will assess what your problems are in terms of your health and then will call the correct doctors. The doctor will assess what you need. The correct doctor will say what medicine you need,” Duterte said.

She said patients will receive a text message, indicating the medicines that they need to take, from the 911. She said the text will serve as a doctor’s prescription when they buy medicines from pharmacies.

She said Executive Order 20 that was issued on March 23 provides for some provisions on “telemedicine,” drafted in consultation with some medical experts, so those patients can avoid going out since they risk acquiring the infection in hospitals and mass transport.

“The doctors formulated these provisions to help our people avoid going to the hospitals since hospitals and mass transport are quite dangerous today,” she said.

Under Section 19(a), the order provides that “pharmacies and drugstores are requested to accept prescriptions that are in the form of text messages wherein the sender is 911 to cater to patients who are accommodated by volunteer doctors conducting telemedicine in the city in coordination with 911.”

Duterte added that Section 19(b) of that same order also “provides that in the absence of a doctor’s prescription, pharmacies, and drugstores are requested to allow senior citizens or their duly authorized representatives to avail of their senior citizens’ discount with the presentation of only their purchase orders/booklets and senior citizens’ ID.”

“I am asking the drug stores to allow the senior citizens and their duly authorized representative to buy using their purchase book and ID even without the prescription for our seniors, so that our senior citizens will no longer have to see their doctors just to get their medicines,” she added.

The mayor encouraged “senior” doctors to avoid going out and become volunteer doctors since elders are more vulnerable to COVID-19.

“The senior doctors can still help from their homes. I suggest you stay home. If you want to help, you enroll in our telephone medicine,” she said. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)