PASAY CITY (June 6, 2022) – In a bid to help improve the Philippines’ COVID-19 data management system, the Australian government through the World Health Organization (WHO) has donated 4,400 digital tablets and wireless keyboards to data managers and encoders in different regions of the country.

Dr. Graham Perry Harrison, officer-in-charge of the World Health Organization in the Philippines, said the devices will be distributed to local government units in geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas who are facing challenges in data sharing, supply chain management, and inventory monitoring.

“Modernizing the vaccine information system enables the government to make optimal use of resources and to deliver quality immunization services,” Harrison explained.

He noted that since the pandemic broke out, the Australian government has been helping to strengthen the Philippines’ COVID-19 response efforts.

In fact, Harrison said Australia has allotted a comprehensive assistance package worth about Php 1.8 billion to boost the country’s vaccination program.

“Australia is absolutely committed to working with the Philippine government, UNICEF, the World Health Organization, and other partners to tackle what we must regard as the last mile challenges in support of the successful countrywide COVID-19 immunization program,” Australian Ambassador Steven Robinson emphasized.

“These tablets will contribute to a more efficient health information vaccine management system that will really enable the government to take data-driven decisions about COVID-19 vaccination programs and other immunization for remote and vulnerable communities,” he added.

In his message read by Assistant Secretary Wilben Mayor, National Task Force against COVID-19 head of strategic communications on current operations, NTF Chief Implementer and vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. thanked the Australian government, UNICEF, and WHO, for partnering with the National Vaccination Operations Center (NVOC).

According to Galvez, among the key factors that will determine the success of the national government’s COVID-19 response and mitigation efforts will be the improvements made in data management.

“As our country’s COVID-19 response efforts shift to healing and recovery from the effects of the health crisis, it is crucial that we are equipped with the latest technologies and tools that will enable us to closely monitor the implementation of our national vaccination program,” Galvez said.

According to Galvez, the said gadgets will be distributed to data managers and encoders nationwide to keep track, manage, and report on up-to-date COVID-19 data using the vaccine information management system provided by the Department of Information and Communication (DICT).

Sufficient vaccines for next admin

Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje, who also chairs the NVOC, said the incoming administration will inherit sufficient vaccine supplies which will enable itt to continue implementing the immunization program.

“As we turn over to the next administration sufficient vaccines, we’re also happy to turn over these donations from the Australian government through the World Health Organization,” Cabotaje said.

The country has received more than 245 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines since February 2021, in which about 195 million jabs have been deployed nationwide.

“As the Duterte administration nears the end of its term, it would like to leave behind a health system that is more responsive to the needs of its people, and more importantly, more sustainable and resilient in order to meet present and future health challenges,” Galvez said.

To date, more than 69.4 million Filipinos are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19.###