A former medical practitioner has initiated a donation drive to distribute personal protection equipment (PPE) to local frontliners fighting against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Erika Bajo, a former nurse at the Adventist Hospital Palawan (AHP) started a call for donation of PPE and other essential medical supplies to protect the doctors, nurses, and other volunteers serving the frontlines to stop the threat of the virus.
Bajo made the call the drive on March 24 by collaborating with her friends and the alumni of the Agricultural Science High School-Western Philippines University (WPU), Palawan non-hospital and non-practicing registered nurses (RN), and with Eva Malabanan and Pilipinas Shell Foundation Inc (PSFI).
“I realized na kailangan talaga ng mga protection since I know what is happening inside. Ang una kong idea lang ay mag-produce ng hazmat. Nag-try ako mag-collab sa mga kaibigan ko una,” she said Wednesday.
“Ang nangyari ay nagkaroon ng collaboration kila ninang Eva (Malabanan), collaboration with the Agricultural Science of WPU then ang isa pa ay non-practicing (registered nurse) RN of Palawan. Ang target namin is to produce personal protective equipment,” she said.
Bajo said that they have started to deliver 61 raincoats and 50 washable face masks to the frontliners. They have also distributed masks and face shields to those deployed in checkpoints.
She said that from an idea as practiced in Manila, she tried posting online about the donation drive. She also called for help from dressmakers and seamstress to sew cloth masks.
She said that they have started to raise funds from March 24 until April 3.
Their target hospitals as the recipients of the PPE supplies and other essentials are the Aborlan Medicare, Ospital ng Palawan (ONP), and AHP.
“Since nag-coordinate na rin yong ibang local rural health, tina-try namin na ma-distribute equally sa mga other assigned hospitals,” she said.
“Tapos yong mga non-practicing RNs pati yong sa group nila ninang sa Pilipinas Shell, ang mangyayari is pati yong ibang frontliners ay bibigyan na rin. If ever naman may extra funds pa ay saka kami magri-reach out para sa needs ng LGUs and goods,” Bajo added.
Bajo said that they will focus first on distributing the PPE while Palawan is not yet at its peak of COVID-19 testing.
She said it is better to be prepared whether there will be a positive case or none.
“Usually, dapat gamit then dispose so masho-short talaga tayo. Nag-coordinate na kami sa mga hospital para sa approval ng mga gamit,” she said.
Bajo said that she did not expect donations to flow from kind-hearted individuals from other countries.
“Ang pinaka na-appreciate sa lahat ay ang mga mananahi na nag-volunteer. Sobrang grabe yong response ng mga mananahi, yong cash kasi mina-maximize namin para lang for materials. Yong nakakatuwa kasi yong mga taga-Palawan, magvo-volunteer na sige pwede kami magtahi, raw materials ang binibigay namin,” she said.
She said that they are prioritizing the need for hospitals that will cater to more critical cases but she added that as much as possible, they will try to reach even those at the southern and northern parts of Palawan.
As of March 31, there are 170 washable face masks, 50 medical suits/gowns, 20 boxes of gloves, and 200 improvised face shields scheduled for delivery Thursday.
There are also incubation boxes care of PICE Palawan and 100 boxes of vitamins shipped from Manila.
Her group also posted that they are still making about 370 washable face masks, 300 medical suits/gowns, and 200 improvised face shields. They have ordered 20 standard face shields and 20 standard protective goggles.
Also as of March 31, their group has already collected around P160,000 from donations.
Bajo said interested donors may send their cash donations through bank transfers.
Bajo also advised the public to “stay at home” as much as possible as it could be a great help to the frontliners.
“Kapag magsi-stay at home sila, mas less yong iki-cater na cases ng hospitals. At the same time, sa advocacy naman natin, it doesn’t matter if big ang matulong or small. As long as may matulong sila is okay but pinaka-help nila is to be healthy,” Bajo said.
“Tulungan nila ang mga self nila, matutulungan din nila yong mga health care worker,” she added.
For other interested donors, they may send their support to the following:
Kristelle Joy Orot
BPI – 3529114337
BDO – 010630067236
Erika Jane M. Bajo
BPI – 3489062983
BDO – 005040371870