7-Eleven, DOH launch barangay-level COVID-19 info drive
PSC installed a COVID-19 update poster in each of its 2,951 stores nationwide to make barangay level data available to the public starting mid-September. “Our management philosophy is ‘show the right data in the right form to the right people at the right time, and they will make the right decisions.’ You can’t look over the shoulder of every store manager when you have 3,000 stores -- you have to give him the freedom to manage his store, but at the same time let him know how he is doing, so he can either be left alone, recognized, or held accountable. We think the same is true with regard to managing COVID-19," said PSC President and CEO Victor Paterno. “We laud the DOH for making the barangay data available. The virus spreads from close contact within members of a community, so we believe reporting it at that level opens up a promising front in the war to contain the virus. We hope it will drive the behavioral changes needed to get numbers down, and give communities the confidence that the problem can be managed," he added. 7-Eleven earlier surveyed 38,000 individuals in 7,000 inner neighborhoods in August where it found out that only 60 percent of people in the vicinity of their stores wore masks. This prompted the barangay information drive aligned with the DOH’s transition from a top-down approach toward managing COVID-19 to one that focuses on strengthening the pandemic response at the grassroots. The poster, updated daily, shows the number of active cases and the trend in the barangay where the store is located. It also shows similar information on two other adjacent barangays. “Drawing awareness to the community spread is a good first step,” said Sikini Labastilla, head of Caloocan City’s contact tracing team. “In Caloocan, every community now aspires to be COVID-free, just as they once aspired to be drug free. There will be cases, but the community needs to see it as an ongoing battle rather than one that is won when they hit zero," Labastilla added. The transition to a grassroots-level response is part of the DOH’s efforts to augment the Department of Interior and Local Government’s Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams (BHERTS). BHERTs are locally-organized representatives of the LGUs that assist local epidemiology and surveillance units as well as contact-tracing teams.