BAGUIO CITY – Around 1,250 members of Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams (BHERTS) in the region were trained on public communications in a bid to strengthen contact tracing and testing and further boost the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Contact tracing will only be successful if the community accepts it as an effective measure in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, and this will not be possible without proper communication,” said Danilo Azarcon Jr., Local Government Operations Officer III of the Department of the Interior and Local Government Cordillera.
He said that the training will ensure that members of the community will feel supported and protected, and that they will receive empathetic, and culturally appropriate engagement in an accessible language.
Adding, the abilities of Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams (BHERTs) to demonstrate empathy and trusting communication in community interactions are essential to complete the health care interaction to the fullest potential.
Village health workers as first line of defense in communities
BHERTs, a community organization tasked in managing all COVID-19 related healthcare needs are also tasked to make sure that residents within their jurisdiction are all accounted for and are fully informed about the disease.
“By communicating risk, facilitating contact tracing, and connecting communities with larger local health systems, these neighborhood-based teams form the frontline of efforts to delay COVID-19’s spread and locally contain the pandemic,” he said.
The DILG mandates the creation of the BHERT for every 5,000 population, composed of an executive officer, a barangay tanod, and two barangay health workers; one is preferably a nurse or a midwife to be appointed by the Punong Barangay.
Further, the Department together with the local government units and other partner agencies will ensure that all BHERTs are equipped, visible, and accessible in local communities with proper trainings and skills.