A focus group discussion- post training monitoring for Polambato Port personnel was held last January 8, 2021 at the Polambato Port in Bogo City.
There were six port personnel who joined the focus group discussion. They included four port staff and two port security officers.
As a background, personnel in the Polambato Port including members of the Philippine Coast Guard and port staff staff were trained on risk communication and infection prevention and control last October 26, 2020. Since then, they were expected to apply the knowledge that they got during the training. Since Polambato Port is the receiving end of inbound and outbound passengers travelling to and from Palompon, Leyte and Calbayog City, there is a risk of them being carriers of the virus. The coast guards and personnel working in the ports thus play a very essential role in ensuring a very minimal and if possible, no risk at all, of transmission of the virus among people if there happens to be a positive case in the port, who may also be asymptomatic. Thus, there was a need to know how the trained port people had been performing this essential task since the training they had last October 26, 2020. Since they may be involved in certain circumstances when they have to explain to people matters related with the virus and its effect on people’s lives, there was also a need to evaluate how they have applied their knowledge on risk communication and community engagement.
The focus group discussion evaluated how the port personnel had been ensuring the practice of infection prevention and control in the port and in relating with passengers traveling to and from Palompon Leyte and Polambato. It also evaluated how the port personnel had been practicing risk communication and community engagement.
During the focus group discussion, the six port personnel said that they were very strict in implementing the travel protocols of departing and arriving passengers in the port. There were passengers from Polambato going to Palompon, Leyte and vice-versa. From Palompon, passengers were already cleared to travel since the shipping company sees to it that they had the necessary travel documents. Upon arrival in Polambato, the port personnel checked on their travel documents again. Arriving passengers had their temperature checked by port personnel. If there was a passenger who had a temperature equal or above 38 degrees Celcius, he was made to rest, after which his temperature was checked again. If it remained high, the port personnel informs the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office which would send an ambulance to get the passenger and bring him to the temporary treatment and monitoring facility after which the medical staff of the City Health Office takes care of him.
Outgoing passengers also had to have complete travel documents in order to leave Polambato Port. They had to pass through the coast guards with their travel documents. They included a travel authority from the police, a barangay clearance, a medical certificate, and an acceptance from the LGU in Leyte. The port personnel said that they never failed to see to it that passengers wear masks and face shields at all times and practice social distancing. Since there is a handwashing facility donated by USAID in the port, they also encouraged the passengers to use the facility before departing and upon arrival.
In conclusion, the participants said they would continue to be models of the health protocols and remind passengers who do not do so, to do it. They will continue to be strict in implementing the travel protocols.