The Philippines’ health care system is “particularly concerning” compared to other Southeast Asian countries’ health care capacity, the United Nations (UN) said in a report on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in the region. The report revealed that the Philippines has only two nurses and midwives, as well as ten hospital beds per 10,000 people, which is the lowest in the region.

Consistent with the UN report, Department of Health (DOH) Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire urged hospitals to increase the number of COVID-19-dedicated beds in their facilities. “Nationally, malapit na pong ma-overwhelm ang health system, mapapagod ang mga doctor, nurses at nag-aalaga sa atin sa hospital,” said Vergeire.

The DOH reported that the occupancy for COVID-19 beds is now at 52.3%, while occupancy for non-COVID-19 beds is at 50%, both at the “warning zone” which means that 8,577 out of the 16,388 hospital beds dedicated to COVID-19 cases across the country are already being utilized.

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