Philippine Red Cross was among the earliest National Societies outside of China to ramp up their COVID-19 response after the country confirmed its first case of the virus on January 30. From the outset, the organisation focused its resources on areas where it could create the most impact. A central part of their multi-faceted response has been supporting early treatment and primary healthcare providers.

The Philippines recorded the first death from COVID-19 outside of China. As the virus spread, the early surge in the number of patients seeking treatment for COVID-19 stretched the capacity of the country’s health care system, particularly hospitals. Photo: IFRC

To increase bed capacity, Philippine Red Cross set up medical tents to support both public and private hospitals in the country. The tents are being used for medical, admission and triage. With the support of the IFRC, Philippine Red Cross has already pitched 57 tents in 22 public and private hospital. Photo: IFRC

Shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) used by health care and frontline workers to protect themselves posed a tremendous challenge to the health care system in the country. Philippine Red Cross responded by distributing PPE to critical health care and frontline workers and have now distributed more than half a million items of PPE. Photo: Philippine Red Cross.

Philippine Red Cross has continued to transport non-COVID-19 and confirmed COVID-19 patients throughout the pandemic. To eliminate the risk of contamination, the organisation procured specialised negative pressure ambulances dedicated to the transport of COVID-19 related patients. So far more than 300 COVID-19 related patients have been transported by the Philippine Red Cross. Photo: Philippine Red Cross.

Philippine Red Cross is also playing a significant role in testing, conducting swabbing to get samples from people who are believed to have been exposed to the COVID-19. Photo: IFRC.

The samples are then processed at new molecular laboratories set up by Philippine Red Cross to support the country’s need for increased testing to slow transmission of the virus. Photo: IFRC.

Three molecular testing labs are now operational with a total of eight testing machines. Each testing machine has the capacity to undertake up to 1,000 tests a day to support early identification of confirmed cases. The Philippine Red Cross has tested more than 74,600 individuals, accounting for 45 percent of the total testing done in the country and plans to build more laboratories to support mass testing. Photo: IFRC.