Apples, oranges can’t be compared: DOH exec on Bloomberg report

Apples, oranges can’t be compared: DOH exec on Bloomberg report

MANILA – A Department of Health (DOH) official said the Philippines cannot be compared to other high-income countries that have a “different context” on their coronavirus response.

In a virtual briefing Friday, DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the Bloomberg’s recent ranking of the Philippines at the bottom of its October Covid-19 resiliency report included only 53 out of the almost 200 countries in the world that have different levels of resiliency based on several factors such as their economy and availability of resources.

“We cannot be compared to the United States for example because even before the pandemic started, their health system is robust. High income ‘yan,” she said. “Nasa kanila ‘yung resources, nasa kanila ‘yung manufacturers ng bakuna, definitely sa kanila po (They have the resources, they have the manufacturers of the vaccine, it’s definitely theirs). These high-income countries will have the share of these vaccines. We will always have a different context, we cannot compare an apple with an orange.”

Bloomberg released its Covid-19 resilience report for October, ranking the Philippines at the bottom for the second consecutive month with a score of 40.5, slightly higher than September’s 40.2.

Vergeire said despite the limited availability of resources, the Philippines has massively improved since the beginning of the pandemic.

The number of cases also recorded a significant drop to just over 3,600 on October 27, as compared to more than 26,000 cases in September.

“From just one laboratory in the outset of this pandemic, we now have almost 300 laboratories. From just one quarantine facility, we now have more than 100,000 beds. And sa bakuna po (And for vaccines), we were just averaging 300 jabs per day. We’re now averaging almost 600,000 jabs per day. We just reached 100 million na bakuna na nadala dito sa ating bansa (vaccine doses that arrived in the country),” Vergeire said.

She added that data used in the report were gathered during the spike of Covid-19 infections in the country fueled by the highly transmissible and dominant Delta variant.

“Nung dumating po sa ‘tin at tumaas ang ating mga kaso, itong mga period na ‘to na naga-analyze na sila (When it arrived and our cases soared, this was the period when they began analyzing). So, when you compare us with other countries, definitely, kapag tinignan ang cases and deaths, talagang hindi po tayo magra-rank ng mataas (if they look at cases and deaths, we won’t rank high),” Vergeire said.

The Philippines’ Covid-19 fatality rate, she said, had been lower than the global case fatality “for so long” and that the government has been able to contain and limit the number of mortalities.

“’Yan lang po ang goal sa pandemiyang ito (That’s the goal of this pandemic), to reduce the number of mortalities, to reduce those who have severe infections so that our health system or our hospitals will not get overwhelmed,” Vergeire said.

She however said the government is willing to take pointers from the report.

“The analysis is there, the research is there, tatanggapin po natin ‘yan. Gagamitin natin kung ano mang mga punto ang sinasabi nila (we will accept that. We will make use of the points they are getting at),” Vergeire said. (PNA)

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