February 2, 2023

More than 500 contact tracers were trained face-to-face and through virtual teleconference last Oct. 1 and 2 as part of the government’s campaign against the spread of the Covid-19.

Of the 571 contact tracers, 176 were trained face-to-face in Baguio while 395 newly hired contact tracers were trained via virtual teleconference – 119 in Benguet; 90 in Abra; 34 in Apayao; 50 in Ifugao; 60 in Kalinga; and 42 in Mountain Province.

Topics included overview of emergency health responses; elements and associated risks of Covid-19; analyzing contact tracing tools and processes; and cognitive interviewing techniques.

The new contact tracers will be assigned to contact tracing teams deployed in different local government units throughout the region.

The teams are composite units led by municipal or city health officers with members of the Philippine National Police, Bureau of Fire Protection, Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams, and volunteers from civil society organizations.

A contact tracer conducts interviews and profiling; performs an initial public health risk assessment of Covid-19 cases and their identified close contacts; and refers close contacts to isolation facilities.

The DILG is the lead agency in contact tracing pursuant to IATF Resolution 25. On April 24, the DILG issued Memorandum Circular 2020-077 directing LGUs to establish their own task forces against Covid-19, including contact tracing teams. The task force will give the LGUs the authority to take the lead in contact tracing efforts.

In Baguio, contact tracing czar and Mayor Benjamin Magalong led the oath taking of 176 contact tracers hired by the DILG to help the city government in tracing probable and suspected Covid-19 carriers.

Magalong said the city still has a high testing rate and contact tracing efficiency ratio and is focused on managing the situation through control measures pursuant to the “prevent, detect, isolate, treat, and reintegrate strategies embodied in the National Action Plan 2.

“We keep on emphasizing the Disiplina muna government movement and people look up to us because of our responsible and disciplined citizenry. We hope we can sustain it. Bida po ang may disiplina,” he said. – Press release