BTA Parliament establishes COVID-19 ‘HelpLink’
October 20, 2020

Project Manager Nur-Amin C. Caludtiag explains the phases of the BTA Parliament’s special project, COVID-19 ‘HelpLink’. (Photo by MMaguid, Publication & Media Division, BTA Parliament)

COTABATO CITY — The Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) Parliament has established an initiative project, known as COVID-19 ‘HelpLink’ that would link together various offices and activities within the BTA Parliament to further reduce the risks of disease transmission among the BTA staff and its officers.

Project Manager Nur-Amin C. Caludtiag from the Office of Sergeant-at-Arms (OSAA), said the COVID-19 ‘HelpLink’ is a support system that would link BTA Parliament offices and staff, Inter-Agency Task Force, local government units and health authorities for detection, referral and management of COVID-19 cases among the staff members.

“This is a mechanism that will cater BTA Parliament Staff should there be COVID-19 positive cases, so they will be given proper assistance,” Caludtiag stressed.

Caludtiag said the HelpLink shall have three phases. The first phase is limited to the BTA Parliament offices with basic response activities. The second phase is the upscaling of activities to cater for more clients targeting the whole Bangsamoro region, while the third and last phase (institutional) would be strengthening the structures.

“Our goal is to contribute to the reduction of morbidity and mortality cases of the ongoing pandemic,” he emphasized.

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Caludtiag said at present they only do monitoring, and there are no other services like the safe transport of patients.

“We don’t have vehicles at the moment and even swab testing is not yet available but we never fail to coordinate so we can fast track the purchasing of the equipment needed for our operation,” Caludtiag added.

As part of the HelpLink process, Caludtiag said there is a standard operating procedure.

“We will do referral management if ever there will be COVID-19 cases inside the offices of the BTA Parliament and nearby areas within the city. We have a Help Desk Officer that they can contact and consult with anytime with the presence of the assigned focal person. For now, we are still in phase 1 and our focus is within the BTA Parliament office and Cotabato areas. We look forward to our second and third phases,” Caludtiag explained.

Activities in line with the project include: conduct of risks assessment at the BTA Parliament work places and recommend course of actions to reduce the risks of disease transmission; develop technical guides (SOPs, guidelines) and IEC materials, which are easy to understand to support the awareness and mobilization activities; establish focal persons for health and safety (FPHS) on every office/unit under BTA with more than 5 staff members; build the capacity of the FPHSs and staff members to ensure that everyone observes protocol set by the government in preventing the spread of the disease; identify materials, equipment, human resources, budget and support needs in the establishment, operation and management of the 24/7 BTA COVID-19 HelpLink office; awareness raising activities for the protocols, guidelines and directives relevant to the prevention and management of COVID-19 cases; developing monitoring, evaluation, accountability and learning or MEAL framework for the compliance of every BTA unit and office; participate in the IATF coordination activities and recommend necessary actions; support the employees and their household members with the 24/7 HelpDesk assistance (online consultation and assessment) through the identified medical doctors and public health practitioners; provide online guidance for staff and their household members should there be suspected cases through its HelpDesk; support the suspected cases for logistics – transfer from the office to the referral facility/home.

Meanwhile, this 6-month special project is under the management of the Office of the Parliament Speaker with support from OSAA, Offices of the Majority Floor Leader, Minority Floor Leader, Deputy Minority Floor Leader and the Secretary General. The project is slated to run from September 2020 until March 2021. (GALao, Publication & Media Division, BTA Parliament)