Angat Buhay NGO chair Leni Robredo informed the public that the free teleconsultation program launched when she was in office is still operational.
The former vice president gave this update in a Facebook post on Wednesday, April 26, where she reflected on one of their initiatives launched during the COVID-19 pandemic — the Bayanihan E-Konsulta or BEK.
Robredo said that she was especially proud of the conception of the online medical consultation program since it “has helped thousands of patients all over the country.”
“But what makes it special is that its energies are being propelled by thousands of volunteers — both medical and non-medical. It was our most ambitious and most difficult project, but one of the most rewarding,” she added.
The former government official credited four key individuals who helped fully realize the Bayanihan E-Konsulta.
“Our project head was Director Paolo Raynor Salvosa. But three young doctors helped us conceptualize and operationalize the entire program and became our core doctors — Dr. Keisha Mangalili, who is now our Angat Buhay Program Officer for Health, Dr. RJ Naguit, and my Tricia Robredo,” Robredo said.
She shared that Tricia, Keisha, and RJ wrote a paper about critical challenges, considerations, and the iterations to the service implemented by the BEK team to provide insights for public health leaders and other low-to-middle income countries.
It was published by the Centre for Humanitarian Leadership with the support of the United States Agency for International Development.
Robredo also shared that BEK “is still operational until now.”
“We have added a Mental Health arm and the program is still as active as it was before,” she added.
BEK started offering free mental health services to the public in October 2022, on top of other offerings like medical teleconsultations with COVID-19 patients, general check-ups, and other concerns.
Meanwhile, some Filipinos showed their appreciation for the teleconsultation initiative in the comments section.
“Cheers for the paper! Kudos to all and thanks for creating Bayanihan E-Konsulta,” a Pinoy wrote with revolving hearts emoji.
“I am a Bayanihan e-Konsulta [Covid] care pack recepient. THANK YOU, ATTY. LENI, for your initiative. Now, I am a volunteer merchant at the Museo ng Pag-asa shop. SALAMAT,” another Facebook user commented.
Museo ng Pag-asa is the site housing the gifts given to Robredo by her supporters when she campaigned for president in the 2022 national elections.
“Awesome! Congratulations to you, Dr. Tricia [and] her two other colleagues, the volunteers, and OVP [Office of the Vice President] staff for the Angat Buhay program [and] now, the NGO,” wrote another Pinoy in the comments.
“This Bayanihan e-Konsulta program is truly innovative and it served its most significant purpose at such a critical time: when the pandemic hit. May this service continue to prosper and may your unique brand of service become the peg and the most emulated standard for universal Philippine healthcare!” she added.
“Salamat, Ma’am Leni Gerona Robredo, for your undying service to the Filipino people (red heart emoji) PADAYON!” commented a different Facebook user.
The Bayanihan E-Konsulta was first launched under the Office of the Vice President during Robredo’s term in the Duterte administration in 2021.
The program helped fill the gaps in the public healthcare system amid the raging COVID-19 pandemic.
It offered free teleconsultation services, COVID-19 home care kit packages with symptom monitoring sheets, medicines, and other basic healthcare supplies like pulse oximeter, thermometer, face masks and vitamins.
BEK is now operating under the Angat Buhay NGO.
Meanwhile, availing of a teleconsultation service has been a go-to during the pandemic, especially for those avoiding the risk of exposure to the virus or those in isolation or quarantine.
During the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government encouraged teleconsultations to help reduce hospital congestion.
Individuals availing of a teleconsultation can just talk to their physicians through a video call, online chat, or phone call.