Even though Palau does not have a confirmed case of COVID-19 or a suspected case, those in the medical field never stop to remind us that we should still wash our hands and practice social distancing ourselves. They remind the public that all ways of prevention are still a must.
Dr. Victor Yano, one of Palau’s long-serving and well-respected medical doctor and Chairman of Palau’s Healthcare Fund (HCF) Governing Board, made a video called “COVID-19 Klumech ma Uleklatk” that can be seen on social media or YouTube, explaining how the corona virus works and how some palauan cultural habits can contribute to spreading it. The video is produced by HCF Governing Board, the Board managing Palau’s national health insurance program.
“Tial virus a kora hokori el sebchel suebek el imuul mora chad el kmeed rkau” ( the virus acts like dust able to fly through air on to the next person) he said reminding everyone to properly dispose of our spit bottles, always carry around a towel or handkerchief and if using tissue to make sure to dispose properly and not leave anywhere. As well as tidying up your space and the area around you.
In video message, Dr. Yano informed everyone that costs of screening will be covered by HCF/NHI. “All employed individuals and dependents who currently have NHI/HCF accounts will be covered. That includes almost 95% of the population.”
Others who do not have insurance will be subjected to MOH/Belau National Hospital billing sliding fee schedule.
Fees for the screening test will be developed by the MOH/Belau National Hospital Finance Section. The cost of such screening has not been shared with HCF yet. Said Dr. Yano.
Minister of Health Dr. Emais Roberts reported last week during press conference that there will be a cost for screening but it will be “reasonable” and he asked that private clinics who will be provided rapid test kits assess “reasonable” rates to their clients. “There is some cost recovery and services related to these services but it should be reasonable,” stated Minister Roberts.
Testing kits, PCR machine and all other major equipment and supplies required for testing potential COVID-19 patients are donated by Palau’s partners including Republic of China Taiwan, United States of America, Australia and Japan.