I just want to share one of the experiences I had when I was a health reporter.
At the height of the SARS scare in 2003, health reporters were at the forefront of relaying the latest update on the health malady.
The editors want a different perspective of the story so we were sent to visit the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Alabang, Muntinlupa City, one of the DOH’s assigned government SARS centers in Metro Manila. (The other one was found in San Lazaro Hospital in Manila.)
The plan was to write a news feature and a profile story from the interview with front line health workers who are directly handling suspected SARS patients.
The idea was quite scary isn’t it? We are not even covered by a medical insurance just in case me and my co-workers catch the virus during the coverage. Also, I have two little susceptible kids to worry about.
But there’s no turning back. We proceeded to RITM with only a surgical mask and alcohol as our protection.
My photographer was worried to enter the RITM premises, but I assure him we are not going to meet a patient inside as we are not allowed to do so.
The interview and hospital facility guided tour turn out well. Our story made it to the front and inside pages the following day.
We were also thankful that none of us got sick after the coverage.
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome or SARS, is a viral respiratory illness transmitted through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, and bodily secretions from an infected person. It manifests flu-like symptoms.