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Free COVID-19 consultations thru Cebu TeleGaBAI launched

Cebu residents can now seek medical advice from physicians without going to the hospitals with the launching of the Cebu COVID-19 TeleGaBAI by Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC).

This service is in partnership with the Philippine College of Physicians, Cebu Medical Society, and other local medical societies.

The public can consult physicians by calling the TeleGABAI hotline numbers or send a message through the official Facebook page.

The public can contact Cebu Covid-19 TeleGaBAI through their official Facebook page (
) or through the Cebu TeleGaBAI hotline numbers: 0960-929-2606, 0960-929-2607, 0960-929-2608, and 0960-929-2609.

VSMMC Medical Center Chief Dr. Gerardo Aquino Jr. said that their hospital will always lead in providing the public quality, accessible, and responsive healthcare services. “This is true to our commitment and brand for a shared identity. We are here for you and you are here for us. We shall fight this unseen enemy, together! To address the medical needs of our patients in these challenging times, VSMMC launches Cebu TeleGaBai,” Aquino stressed in his statement posted on their official Facebook page.

He added that doctors from different provincial and district hospitals and even patients can ask for medical assistance from their medical experts via the Cebu TeleGaBAI. “(There is) No need for patients to physically visit the city hospitals or clinics for they can seek consult or medical advice anytime through TeleGaBai,” according to Aquino.

The VSMMC initiated the 24/7 Cebu Covid-19 TeleGaBAI program to help decongest the Cebu emergency rooms and hospitals from asymptomatic and mild patients.

The program provides a venue for licensed doctors to guide and advise patients and their families to manage their infections at home.

It is patterned after the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) COVID TeleGabay Program, which was launched in March.

The said program is an integration of healthcare services delivery by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF), Emergency Operation Center (EOC) of the cities and municipalities in Cebu, the Department of Health (DOH-7) and with the support of the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (OPAV).

Dr. Helen Madamba, chief of the VSMMC's Professional and Allied Health Services (Medical Social Service and Health Information Management), said that the "lines to vacancies for hospital admission are long and patients need to know how to temporize while waiting."

Madamba revealed that since they launched the program on Aug. 13, they now have 250 volunteers including doctors, PGIs, medical interns, allied health professionals, and non-MD volunteers.

"There is no honorarium and each volunteer has to provide his/her own cellphone, sim, and load to call the patients to respond to questions, for teleconsultation, daily monitoring," she said.

She added that the volunteers are on duty from 4 to 12 hours a day, depending on their availability. "Our goal is to guide, so we provide 'Gabay' or give 'Tambag.' To give Cebuano twist, we changed the spelling to TeleGaBAI because BAI locally means friend," said Madamba.

"We set this up now because this effort hopefully fills an identified gap of providing medical advice and information to patients who are symptomatic and may or may not have tested positive for COVID19, and are staying at home," Madamba said when asked why this was just set up now.

The logo of TeleGaBai shows the brand and image of Sotto wherein the telephone as the mean of communication for patients who are seeking for medical assistance, while the Stethoscope stands for medical experts who shall be providing the latter, explained Aquino.

Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Secretary Michael Lloyd Dino lauded the said initiative, expressing support from the national government through Pres. Rodrigo Duterte and Sen. Bong Go for the Malasakit to Cebu.

“We need this kind of Bayanihan especially in this trying times. Hopefully the public will utilize this program so as not to overwhelm our hospitals in Cebu,” said Dino.

He also urged the other regions to activate their own TeleGabay to help the public with the threat of the different variants of COVID-19. (PR) 

About the Author

Rachelle Nessia

Assistant Regional Head

Region 7

Trying not to fail in the something that I can do for others. This is my public service. 

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