To further scale-up contact tracing efforts of the local government units (LGUs), the DILG Zambales led by Provincial Director Armi V. Bactad, in coordination with the DILG Olongapo City headed by City Director Amada T. Dumagat, conducted the "Provincial Roll Out on Enhancing COVID-19 Contact Tracing Work: Advanced Guide for Local Governments and Contact Tracers" on July 14, 2021 via zoom meeting platform.

 Over 447 participants were trained which is composed of DILG-hired Contact Tracers, LGU Contact Tracers, together with Philippine National Police (PNP) and Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) personnel acting as contact tracers, members of Barangay Health Emergency Response Team (BHERT) and LGU volunteers from the province of Zambales and Olongapo City.

The said undertaking aimed to provide the contact tracers with advanced guide and practical skills set in conducting case investigation, efficient identification and tracking of close contacts and data management and analysis— as effective contact tracing remains as one of the key public health tools to stop the chain of transmission.

In her message, PD Bactad placed an emphasis on practicing the minimum safety protocols and reminded everyone to become a responsible individual in these trying times.

"Samahan natin ng taimtim na dasal kasi importante ang tulong ng ating Panginoon sa lahat po ng ating gagawing trabaho lalung-lalo na po dito sa contact tracing. And kagaya din po ng nabanggit ko kanina, very important po ang pagiging responsable. Isama [rin] po natin [ito] sa ina-advocate po natin" PD Bactad stressed.

In addition, CD Dumagat cited that contact tracing activities in the LGUs must be strengthened in order to control the most infectious disease outbreaks.

During the training, Rosanna S. Rosell, PN, PHSAE, MCDRM, Regional Epidemiologist from the Department of Health (DOH) Regional Office 3 tackled the developments on COVID-19 situation that concentrated on the current situation, COVID response strategies and updates on new variants.

Consecutively, Hon. Benjamin B. Magalong, City Mayor of Baguio City and Contact Tracing Czar presented the city's contact tracing system and LGU practices that greatly helped them in their COVID-19 response.

Likewise, PLTCOL Armelina S. Manalo of PNP-CIDG, Camp Crame, Quezon City delivered a discussion on cognitive interviewing and simulation exercise to educate not only contact tracers but all concerned citizens in identifying, assessing, and managing people who have been exposed to the infectious disease and to prevent its onward transmission.

A conversation cafe was facilitated by LGOO VI Dan A. Esteban, where the participants identified areas of attention to enhance contact tracing at the LGU level and at the personal level and also proposed corresponding actions for each concern.

DILG hopes the activity will help contact tracers to boost efforts in thorough and timely contact tracing in their communities and eventually break the spread of the virus.


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