UP NISMED Hostel Serves as Temporary Shelter for Health Frontliners Fighting Against Pandemic

NISMED Hostel (left of photo) serves as safe shelter for medical workers.

In support of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, NISMED responded to the request of Chancellor Fidel R. Nemenzo to use NISMED Hostel as the temporary sleeping quarters for medical staff and volunteers who are working in the frontlines. As part of the Institute’s social responsibility, NISMED Director Aida I. Yap agreed that the hostel serve as temporary shelter.

NISMED administrative officer Angelie Domingo coordinated with Prof. Dulce Natividad, a member of UP Covid-19 Task Force, on the needed preparations. On 6 April 2020, the entire hostel and surrounding areas were disinfected, courtesy of ACT as ONE PH, a volunteer group composed of members of the Apha Sigma Fraternity. An orientation meeting was also conducted. Dr. Darleth Bantiles, head of the Public Health Unit of the UP Health Service, explained what COVID-19 is, what the symptoms are, how the virus spreads, and what preventive measures could be done. Present during the briefing were Vice Chancellor for Research and Development Gonzalo Campoamor II and Atty. Mars Arias, ACT as ONE PH representative. VC Campoamor was assigned by Chancellor Nemenzo to oversee all the activities.

The first batch of health workers from the Lung Center of the Philippines arrived at NISMED Hostel later in the day. At the time of writing, the occupants of NISMED Hostel were the following: 28 health workers from the Lung Center of the Philippines; 16 staff from the Philippine Genome Center; and three staff from the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM).

In a group chat, Prof. Natividad described the nurses staying in the hostel as: “Tuwang tuwa sila sa warm welcome at ganda ng accommodation.” Vice Chancellor for Planning and Development Raquel Florendo replied, “NISMED is really a good place. It was designed by Japanese architects…perfect place for UPD to offer to our front liners. Matagal na yun building but very well maintained by NISMED.”

To enable the health workers to remain in contact with the hospitals where they serve, as well as with family members and friends, NISMED Building Administrator Willie Dineros was tasked to turn on the air-conditioning units of NISMED’s internet server room alternately each day to keep them in good running condition.

The health workers stayed at the NISMED Hostel for almost nine months. On 23 December 2020, all the health workers bade farewell to the custodial staff who stayed behind until 15 January 2021 to clean and sanitize the entire building. We take this opportunity to thank the UP COVID-19 Task Force led by Chancellor Nemenzo and to salute all the frontliners, volunteers, donors, and everyone else for their courage, sacrifices, and generosity in the nation’s fight against Covid-19. Let us hope that this pandemic will be under control soon so we can lead normal lives once again.

-   A. Domingo