Assuring continuity in dealing with crises
The nCov has set the butts of our health workers on fire. They are now at the receiving end of the ire of public officials who are covering up their incompetence in dealing with similar crises. There were the SARS, the meningococcemia, the MERSCov, etc., that we should have learned from. But as things look now, there is no systematic process established or institutionalized to deal with these or to evaluate whether our health officials acted with dispatch and with efficiency.
In fact, I would even be surprised if there were established protocols backed by proper documentation on past similar crises which our health officials could have just pulled out from the cabinet to just follow or to innovate from to take care of differences between the past and present situations.
We are lucky in the Cordillera because the present DOH regional director, Dr. Amelita M. Pangilinan, was a part of the team that dealt with the meningococcemia scare that almost rendered Baguio a ghost town as far as tourists were concerned. There, however, were positive results of the scare, the experience of our health officials is on top of the list, and, finally, the Baguio General Hopital was cleaned of the decades old dirt that was radiating the nauseating stench whenever you entered the charity ward.
So the DOH regional director was and is effective this time in dealing with the nCov crisis because of that past experience. But what if the regional director is not her but somebody else who did not ever go through such experience? Could he have just pulled out a folder from the cabinet and read through how to deal with such a crisis? Or would he have to start from scratch and learn from mistakes that could be expensive and fatal, or even humongously fatal?
There should be a law requiring officials in government to properly document how they dealt with crises during their stint in a position and for these to be kept for their successors just in case. Such records should be subject to audit whenever an official retires, or resigns, or is transferred. That way there will be continuity in the building up of knowledge and required skills.
Why is there no such a law? Because our politicians were sleeping on the job.**