The Department of Health (DOH) is set to come out with the qualifications for the 95,000 contact tracers it needs to hire to boost government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We are already crafting the minimum qualifications of a contact tracer. We will come out with the criteria in these coming days so our local governments could start hiring these contact tracers,” Health undersecretary Maria Rosario S. Vergeire said during an online press briefing on Wednesday.
Contact tracers are personnel, who are tasked to identify and track down the people who interacted with an infected individual.
She said the newly hired contact tracers will augment the existing 38,000 contact tracers employed by local governments.
The health official said the government will need at least 126,000 contact tracers to comply with their prescribed ratio of one contact tracer for every 800 people.
Vergeire admitted the number of contact tracers they will be able to hire will largely depend on the budget that will provided to them for the said initiative.
Those, who will be hired, she said would likely get salary grade set by the Civil Service Commission (CSC).
In a briefing on Tuesday, Baguio City Mayor Bejamin Magalong, noted that hiring a qualified contact tracers will be a difficult task.
“You could not be just get anyone for that position. Those who will be recruited for contact tracing should have investigative capability and investigative mindset,” Magalong said.
He noted the applicant will then be required to undergo training on cognitive interviewing skill and basic investigation to become effective contact tracers.
Baguio city currently is among the local government units (LGU) that have the best practices when to comes to contact tracing.
The government has repeatedly reiterated that getting sufficient number of contact tracers will be play a crucial part in stopping the spread of Covid-19 by allowing it to identify and isolate people, who are infected with the illness.