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VP Leni Robredo continues to make headlines via her newly-launched free teleconsultation service for Filipinos

The page is yet another initiative from the Office of the Vice President (OVP), with no less than Vice President Leni Robredo demonstrating how to use the accompanying chatbot on Thursday, April 8.

Imagine a household in the middle of the city or town that doesn’t have access to proper health care facilities, but members have a facebook account.

What would one do or he or she knows someone who suddenly feels sick with symptoms eerily similar to COVID-19? Well, as easy as opening one’s Messenger app, one can be diagnosed by a doctor through the Bayanihan E-Konsulta facebook page.

The page is yet another initiative from the Office of the Vice President (OVP), with no less than Vice President Leni Robredo demonstrating how to use the accompanying chatbot on Thursday, April 8.

https://twitter.com/deoenalpe_phl/status/1379984741672251393

In essence, the Messenger app connects one to a volunteer doctor who will then give a diagnosis and a recommendation based on the answers to a set of questions.

Apart from tapping the expertise of volunteer doctors, Robredo also said they have made this service accessible to everyone as long as they have access to the Internet.

“Talagang siniguro namin na ganito ito para ‘yung mga pasyente na ‘yung gustong mag-konsulta pero walang load or walang data available, pwede pa rin makapag konsulta.” Robredo said.

She added that this is their way of helping decongest hospitals, particularly in the NCR Plus bubble, whose COVID-19 facilities reached ‘critical in the level of usage.

Her daughter, Dr. Tricia Robredo, shared common themes the Facebook page has received since its launch.

According to the younger Robredo, most of the questions revolve around vaccine safety, how they should act if they have chronic conditions before the pandemic, and mental health concerns because of the pandemic.

Netizens lauded the OVP for once again taking the lead in helping outpatient cases, especially those with limited resources or access to medical services.

https://twitter.com/aybemey/status/1380039149164576770

Some pointed out how the OVP’s initiative screams Primary Health Care and bringing health care services closer to the people.

Others shared the page on their social media accounts to help get the word out.

As is seemingly customary, though, Robredo’s critics—who are also President Rodrigo Duterte’s most ardent supporters—failed to see the worth of the Vice President’s contribution.

They argued that it’s nothing new and that Government hospitals have been doing the same since the start of the pandemic.

Others mocked the OVP’s initiative, saying they are “exploiting healthcare workers during this trying time.”

As a counter to the critics, Netizens pointed out how those same healthcare workers willingly volunteered their services to the OVP, unlike what the national government did at the start of the pandemic.

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF), in August 2020, has restricted the deployment of healthcare workers as the country was in a State of Public Emergency.

Healthcare workers argued against this deployment ban, pointing out how little the Department of Health was willing to pay them in exchange for better pay and benefits available overseas.


The deployment ban eventually eased in November 2020, though it capped at 5,000 healthcare workers, less than half of the estimated 13,000 healthcare workers who leave the country for work every year.

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