PLDT, Smart enable vaccine rollout in Davao with connectivity support

PLDT and its wireless arm Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) are working closely with local government units (LGUs) in Davao to provide connectivity support to their on-going vaccine rollout.

Under this partnership, PLDT and Smart are providing fiber connectivity and PLDT Prepaid Home WiFi devices for use of frontliners across all vaccination centers in Davao City and Panabo City in support for the government’s Resbakuna COVID-19 vaccination roll-out.

The LGUs will also use Smart Infocast , a web-based text broadcasting solution, to disseminate information about the vaccination roll-out schedule, particularly advisories for those receiving their second vaccine dose.

“PLDT and Smart are partnering with local health offices by providing communications solutions that can help in the implementation of the RESBAKUNA program of the Department of Health (DoH).  A fast and reliable internet connection and SMS broadcast platform can help the LGUs do massive data collection and information dissemination,” said Jonathan dela Cruz, AVP for Customer Development in Mindanao. 

In Davao City, COVID-19 Task Force spokesperson Dr. Michelle Schlosser shared that when they started the vaccination in March, they came across challenges in the registration process.   

“We really experienced difficulties, especially with the registration during the first few days.  But when we went fully online, the problems were resolved.  We are thankful for telecommunications companies like PLDT and Smart for the partnership,” she said.

Davao City Health Office (CHO) Acting Head Dr. Ashley Lopez shared that communications and internet connectivity are vital in the government’s COVID-19 vaccination program.

“It is important (connectivity) because almost all parts of the process, from pre-registration, registration, recording and even reporting Adverse Event Following Immunization (AEFI), are electronically run,” he said. 

Connectivity key for transmitting vital data in real-time

Lopez added that internet connectivity helps in coming up with more accurate and real-time data that is being collated, analyzed, and submitted to the Department of Health and other concerned agencies.

“We are very grateful to Smart and PLDT for taking the initiative to partner with the LGU in Davao. No other telco offered us that,” he emphasized. 

For Panabo City, City Information Officer Michael Angelo A. Resueño shared that Smart has been a constant partner in the LGU’s efforts to connect with Panabo residents. 

“For the connectivity requirement of the DOH’s RESBAKUNA program, Smart is an obvious choice as a partner,” he said.

Resueño reiterated that fast and reliable internet connection in the implementation of the COVID-19 vaccination program is important as they need to send real-time data to DOH and the Provincial Health Office.  “It’s vital for the health statistics on vaccinated individuals,” he explained.

This is part of PLDT and Smart’s ongoing support for the government’s nationwide COVID-19 response, which also includes the roll-out of fiber-powered WiFi connectivity to government-run quarantine, swabbing, isolation sites, vaccination sites, and other COVID-19 facilities.

Since last year, PLDT and Smart have been providing connectivity and communications support to frontline agencies and their personnel such as the departments of health, transportation, public works, the armed forces and police, local governments, and non-governmental organizations in different parts of the country, to help frontliners and patients stay connected despite the challenges of the pandemic.

These efforts are aligned with Smart’s thrust in its “Live Smarter for a Better World” campaign, which highlights Smart’s long-running community partnership programs, enabling “personal revolutions” that spark lasting positive change through connectivity and CSR initiatives.

PLDT Home Prepaid WiFi is powered by Smart LTE, the fastest mobile network in the country according to third-party analytics firm Ookla. To date, Smart’s mobile network covers 96% of the Philippine population from Batanes to Sulu.

Also enabling these services is PLDT’s fiber infrastructure, the most extensive in the country at more than 478,000 kilometers as of end-March 2021.

PLDT and Smart’s relentless push to provide connectivity for all is aligned with the group’s long-standing commitment to help the Philippines attain the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, particularly SDG #9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure.