Partylist legislators on Tuesday asked the Department of Health (DoH) to explain the supposed higher COVID-19 mortality rate in the Philippines.
They said that while there are few COVID-19 cases recorded to date, “a quick glance at the data would show that in terms of percentage, there are more Filipinos than there are Thais, Indonesians or Indians dying of this disease.”
“We have a higher percentage of deaths. I don’t want to speculate on why and I don’t want to sound alarmist. The DoH should tell us, look into why this is happening and take the necessary measures,” according to a member of the House of Representatives.
The congress members said the recent record of COVID-19 cases reported by the health department would show that the fatality rate is at 8.75 percent.
Citing DoH data, he said “there are 140 persons, mostly Filipinos, with infections, while 12, including at least one Chinese national from Wuhan, China, had died of the disease.”
“That means that our fatality rate is 8.57 percent,” he further remarked.
In comparison, the solon said Thailand had 114 infection cases with only one death or a mortality rate of one percent, while Indonesia had 117 cases with five deaths or 4.3 percent mortality rate.
“India, which has a population of more than 1.3 billion, had 115 infected persons and two fatalities, Australia had 337 cases with five deaths, while Canada had 341 infected individuals with only one fatality,” he continued.
Defensor said there should be more labs for testing and home testing kits should also be provided to the public to address this.
He also said PhilHealth should open the payment for testing and medication for COVID-19.
“I suspect that the reason why the infected data is low and are all coming from high paying private hospitals is due to the poor are not having themselves checked fearing the huge amount to be paid by them.”
Shortage of test kits
Another House member said the higher death rate should be attributed to the lack of testing kits.
“Higher COVID rates appear because of lack of testing kits. To date, there are no FDA approved testing kits. All our testing kits have been donated,” he said.
Amid the rising COVID-19 death toll, the legislator urged the government to put up more testing centers.
He also urged the government to establish a National Microbiology Testing and Research System to aid government in its response to all infectious diseases known and yet to emerge.