At the time the coronavirus outbreak hit global proportions, admittedly, not one country was fully prepared to deal with it. Even top scientists and researches have trailed behind the bits and pieces of information left behind by the deaths and the huge number of cases in various parts of the world.
Despite this, doctors, the front-liners in this battle against an invisible enemy, are creatively finding ways to prevent the spread of the disease and to mitigate the situation before it goes out of hand. In the Philippines, around 700 doctors have come together to form a network of health professionals offering free COVID-19 consultation online.
700 Doctors Offer Free COVID-19 Consultation Online
The initiative was launched by the Lung Center of the Philippines (LCP), which they dubbed as the ‘Lung Center COVID Ask Force’ which aims to answer queries from people who have concerns about the coronavirus pandemic, as shared in a report by ABS-CBN News.
The free online consultations with doctors are a great help to make sure every Filipino and their family’s health are in check.
The initiative was conceived when Dr. Gina Delos Reyes, a pulmonologist from the Lung Center of the Philippines (LCP) and a faculty member of the Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health (ASMPH), messaged Dr. Charmaine Cabaña and Dr. Elysse Salindo, both graduates of ASMPH, if they could take part in online consultations about COVID-19. Drs. Cabaña and Salindo, who would then become co-Project Heads of the Lung Center COVID Ask Force, disseminated the invitation to their batchmates and friends in ASMPH—and the invite was positively received.
According to the program’s recruitment head, Dr. Kim Villanueva, the goal of the online platform is to provide accurate information to Filipinos and their families to lessen their fears and to cope properly with the situation.
Villanueva further explained that several symptoms need to be assessed to properly diagnose a person with COVID-19. Speculations often lead to anxiety, driving fear among families whose members may be feeling unwell but are unsure if they indeed have been infected by the virus.
Through the LCP’s Ask Force, netizens can ask physicians about the information they need to know about the disease and will offer advice to patients through their Facebook page.
The only thing they have to do is register on the Lung Center COVID Ask Force page on Facebook and they can ask through Facebook messenger.
The initiative has more than 200 doctors who volunteered to provide answers to queries online while 700 doctors already signed up for the project.
With this, hospitals will be relieved of the multitudes of people seeking consultation, fearing that they contracted the highly contagious disease and lessen the risk of transmission to those who are more vulnerable and are being treated in the hospital.
The Lung Center COVID Ask Force accepts inquiries from Monday to Saturday from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. (cut-off time: 10 a.m.) and from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. (cut-off time: 9 p.m.).
Note that the cut-off times are observed to ensure that all consultations are finished before the closing times.
Furthermore, consultations can be made through phone calls to the Lung Center of the Philippines at (02) 8924-6101 (ask to be connected to the Senior House Officer).