CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga – The Department of Health Central Luzon Center for Health Development (DOH CLCHD) launched on Thursday the “Love on Wheels Project” in the region to ensure the continuity of public health services, particularly on human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
In partnership with the Project Red Ribbon, World Health Organization (WHO), and UNAIDS Philippines, a total of 28 electronic bikes were distributed to selected local government units (LGUs), HIV treatment hubs, primary HIV care clinics, and community-based organization for this project.
The provision of electronic bikes will capacitate local service providers and partner organizations in implementing, managing, and sustaining a comprehensive package of services on HIV/AIDS prevention and management during the pandemic.
“We are sharing the love to Central Luzon, through this project, which is aimed to cushion the effects of Covid-19 to our HIV services. We also call our private sector to be strongly involved in our fight against HIV,” Dr. Ico Rodulfo, president of the Project Red Ribbon, said in a statement.
Dr. Louie Ocampo, executive director of UNAIDS Philippines, for his part, said “I think let’s look at the positive effect of Covid-19 and how the health sector is reacting on it by implementing innovative approaches such as e-bikes which bring the services closer to the community if not at their doorsteps.”
Meanwhile, DOH CLCHD regional director Cesar Cassion shared how collaborations with different organizations are redefining the campaign on HIV/AIDS prevention and management.
“Love on Wheels exhibits the value of multi-sectoral partnership in public health interventions, especially with the HIV program. It is a reminder of our concerted efforts gearing towards over vision of Universal Health Care,” Cassion said.
The Love on Wheels Project was first launched in Manila on June 23, 2020 to address the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic to the HIV program.
The Covid-19 pandemic and the quarantine rules imposed by the government to curb the spread of the disease has impacted the lives of people living with HIV in the country, creating serious challenges to accessing life-saving antiretroviral (ARV) therapy.
The project makes use of electric bikes to deliver ARV, HIV screening kits, condoms, lubricants to persons with HIV, and then to bring specimens to the laboratory, get the results from the hospital, as well as to transport health frontline workers.
The Love on Wheels bikes are helping to ensure that persons with HIV continue to receive care and treatment when their access to the latter has been limited by quarantine restrictions.
As of Nov. 2020, Central Luzon has recorded 8,089 cumulative cases of HIV from 1984 which is 10 percent of the national epidemic. (PNA)