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7-Eleven, DOH launch barangay-level COVID-19 info drive

Philippine Seven Corporation (PSC), the exclusive licensor of 7-Eleven in the Philippines, has partnered with the Department of Health for its BIDA Solusyon Campaign to take the fight against COVID-19 to the barangay level.

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.

“BHERTs are the first-line responders to the public for any COVID-19-related health concern,” said Health Undersecretary Rosario Vergeire.

“Through 7-Eleven’s information drive initiative, the BHERTs, and the Barangay Disiplina Brigades, we aim for a stronger response at where transmission is most common: the barangay level," she said.

Asia Development Bank Health Director Dr. Patrick Osewe underscored how localized spread management is increasingly seen as a best practice around the world, with the goal of resuming economic activity and travel.

“We were able to use data and implement policies in some countries, like Vietnam which controlled the pandemic in the beginning, but had a surge of infections in Da Nang. They were able to bring it down in three weeks. We need clear data at the barangay level that is monitored clearly," Osewe said.

Leading epidemiologist and convener of the Health Professionals Alliance Against COVID-19 (HPAAC) Dr. Antonio Dans stressed that showing the public a real-time picture of successfully curbing the spread would have a positive impact on promoting further practice of the personal protective measures.

“Some people work or live in a crowded or risky area, and distancing is not always a choice they can make. But wearing face masks and shields is something that communities have control over,” he said.

7-Eleven is also launching a Bidang Barangay Contest in more than 50 major cities and municipalities nationwide.

Having provided information about the local barangay’s active cases, 7-Eleven is encouraging both BHERT officials and residents to be proactive partners in sharing information about COVID-19.

“These are early days in this approach, and we need to compare notes on what works and what doesn’t as we progress in our individual efforts. Furthermore, we hope that the national government, and those here who influence them, can help incentivize reduction of community spread by empowering LGUs to lift restrictions to allow more economic activity,” Paterno said.

Topics: COVID-19 , Philippine Seven Corporation , BIDA Solusyon Campaign
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