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Second batch of Israeli medical experts arrive to support COVID-19 fight

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In photo: Israeli clinical experts with the NDRRMC Response Cluster Photo by BCS-PCOO

A group of Israeli medical response team is now in the Philippines for a 5-day mission to share Israel’s experience and best practices in treating COVID patients with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID). 

The Israeli delegation, which arrived in Manila on July 26, is composed of infectious diseases and COVID-19 specialist Dr. Guy Choshen; Shira Peleg, head nurse and nursing manager at the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center’s Emergency Department; Eyad Jeries, trauma coordinator at Galilee Medical Center; and Chaim Markos Rafalowski, disaster management coordinator at Magen David Adom (MDA).

The Philippine government has a series of activities lined up for the four-member Israeli delegation of medical experts so they can observe the country’s COVID-19 response and share their current local clinical guidelines for COVID-19, infection control protocols, hospital management, and other practices.

Mr. Nir Balzam, Chargé d’Affaires a.i. of the Embassy of Israel in the Philippines, highlighted during the welcome ceremony the dramatic improvement of the relationship between Israel and the Philippines over the past few years and even during the pandemic. “Israel has shown its commitment to the Philippines. We will do whatever we can in order to assist and share our knowledge and of course, we are also extending to learn and enhance our knowledge in the different challenges that the Philippines have,” he explained.

“As members of the global community we must continue moving as one towards the protection of the entire human race and the scale of this pandemic requires that it is the only rightful response. In our battle against the COVID-19 pandemic we can only truly be safe when everyone is safe regardless of nationality, religion, cultural background, or social stand,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said as he welcomed the second batch of Israeli health experts.

For his part, NTF Chief Implementer and Vaccine Czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr, who was represented by Ret. BGen. Augustus De Villa, noted that the arrival of the Israeli medical experts in the country is crucial, as the country scales up its COVID-19 response efforts in response to the entry of the Delta variant.

“While the national government is now focused on scaling up the implementation of our prevent-detect-isolate-treat-reintegrate (PDITR) strategy and impose stricter border control in all points of entry, we know that there is still much to be learned and much to be done,” Galvez in his message read by De Villa.

This is the second delegation of medical experts from Israel who visited the Philippines. The first group, which focused on sharing Israel’s best practices in implementing a national vaccination campaign, completed their four-day mission to Manila in June.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, Israel has granted significant assistance to the Philippines to help its fight against COVID-19. The Israeli government turned over several donations consisting of personal protective equipment to the Department of National Defense and the Philippine National Police for use of their frontliners. Education equipment were donated to the Department of Education to aid distance learning. Israel also continues to share its experience and knowledge in emergency and pandemic response with the Philippines through webinars, courses, and joint meetings.
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