Push DOH to use donated test kits ASAP — Health reform advocate

Dr. Anthony Leachon, a cardiologist of Manila Doctors, is urging the Department of Health to use the donated test kits in hospitals with an increased number of COVID cases as soon as possible.

“Kahit may plano kayo kung mabagal ang execution, wala pa rin. (If you have a plan but if the execution is slow, it’s no use). We need a sense of urgency and agility right now. Kakaunti ang test kits natin. Sa buong Asia, tayo ang pinaka-kaunti kaya dapat gawin na natin ng mabilisan ‘yan (We don’t have enough test kits. In Asia, we have the lowest number so we need to do something about it),” said Leachon during his Facebook live where he regularly updates his followers on COVID.

As an independent health reform advocate, Leachon saw the need to enhance community quarantine by staying at home especially those people who have diabetes, heart problems, and cancer.

“Kapag na-ventilator po kayo, 50 percent mamatay! (If you’re in a ventilator, 50 percent dies),” warned Leachon.

“‘Wag na wag kayong magkakasakit. Kapag nagkasakit kayo, alagaan n’yong mabuti kasi kapag nagkasakit kayo at pupunta kayo sa ER (Emergency Room) (Don’t ever get sick. If you get sick, take good care of it. If you get sick, you’ll go to the ER) that is now the haven of illnesses inside the hospital,” he added.

He predicted that even newly installed chief implementer of government policy vs coronavirus and retired Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff Sec. Carlito Galvez will only lift the quarantine only if the cases will show flattening of the curve.

“Don’t declare victory too soon. Look at what happened to Hong Kong? They started welcoming tourists again but they realized that it was the tourists who were bringing in the virus,” said Leachon.

But in order for the government to sustain the fight against this pandemic, Leachon urged the government to increase the capacity of the healthcare system and also to expedite the delivery of personal protective equipment (PPEs) especially to hospitals that are already in full capacity.

“We need to take care of our front-liners. If possible, let the military (trucks) pick them up and send them back to their homes from their workplace and vice versa. Deliver their foods,” he added.

Leachon also recommended the need to have a Central Command Center that could be set up at the AFP. It shall be composed of representatives from the Department of Health, Naval Special Operations Group, Philippine Army, and the media.

“There should only be one music. Isang boses, isang direksyon (One voice, one direction). We need to tap doctors, experts, researchers, epidemiologists, academe, planners, actuarial analyst, system engineers, or those who have witnessed the same crisis. Delegate responsibility to other authorities,” he said.

Leachon shared what renowned cardiologist and mentor Dr. Raffy Castillo once said: “To become a good person and leader, you need character, which can be seen in times of crisis; and wisdom that can be good for everyone. All people have character and wisdom which are being lost when one starts getting big opportunities in life, he starts forgetting his values.”

Castillo is the past president of the Philippine Heart Association and one of five members of the Global Hypertension Council.

“Resilience is a passionate desire to do what’s best even if you’re tired. Your being successful is your reward. But you have to use that reward to have the energy to do your best. If you have resilience, you will have the passion and you won’t get tired easily because you love what you’re doing and it’s for a higher cause.”

While Leachon noticed the increasing number of people who want to help, his question is:

“Do you have character, wisdom, leadership (even at home), resilience, and perseverance? Now is the perfect time to reflect on that.”

During this time of the world health crisis, Leachon said we shall discover who our true leaders are. He also challenged leaders to stand up and take full responsibility.

Leadership is one trait that you will learn in time. Leadership is having a vision, compassion, respect for people, open and candid on communication, and being brave. Tapos na ang pagpaplano. Ang hinihintay natin ngayon ay desisyon (It’s not the time for planning. We are now waiting for your decision).”

For regular COVID updates, watch Dr. Tony Leachon on Facebook live every day at 2:00 pm GMT +8. 


Published by Mylene Orillo

Mylene Orillo is a contributing writer at My Pope Philippines. Prior to that, she contributed to the Health & Lifestyle magazine.  She's a former correspondent at The Manila Times; former editor-in-chief of TravelPlus magazine; and former assistant editor of Health & Lifestyle, Zen Health, and DiabetEASE magazines by FAME Publishing, Inc., a company owned by cardiologist Dr. Rafael Castillo who has given her the much-needed break and opportunity in the health industry and medical field.  Her previous job as a Media Consultant at the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office and Writer-Researcher at the Headquarters Philippine Army ignited her passions for charity, volunteering, selfless service, and love of country. As a young girl, she loved reading her mom's collection of Mills & Boons pocketbooks, which started her passion to write romance stories.  She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Sto. Tomas in España, Manila. She is now working towards earning her master's degree hopefully this year. She loves traveling, long-distance running, reading romance and non-fiction books, watching Korean Drama series, feel-good rom coms, military movies, and documentaries during her spare time. Someday, she wants to meet Prince William and Pope Francis, settle down with the love of her life and have a family and kids of her own; and become a bestselling romance author.

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