Discrimination hits health workers of Iloilo hospital treating COVID-19 patient | Inquirer News
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Discrimination hits health workers of Iloilo hospital treating COVID-19 patient

/ 04:49 PM March 22, 2020

ILOILO CITY—Health workers of an Iloilo hospital are now the targets of discrimination after the hospital confirmed it is treating the first COVID-19 positive case in the province.

Nurses, resident doctors, medical technicians and even the security guards of The Medical City Iloilo have been told to leave their boarding houses by landlords and have even refused service in eateries over concerns of contamination.

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Some of the health workers and staffers of the hospital have even been barred from riding buses and were ordered to turn back at border checkpoints.

“It is very disheartening to know that the very people who have sworn to take care of us are now being discriminated against. These people are risking their own lives so the rest of us may live. Please take note that our biggest enemy is COVID 19 and should not be ignorance. Let us educate ourselves properly so we may understand why they do what they do. After them, we have no one,” Dr. Felix Ray Villa, chief executive officer of The Medical City Iloilo, said in a statement.

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Villa, in an interview, said their personnel started experiencing the discrimination on Saturday evening hours after the Department of Health confirmed that a patient confined at the hospital tested positive for the disease, the first case in Panay Island.

He said some of their personnel have expressed frustration over the treatment.

“But they remain dedicated to their work,” Villa said.

Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas has offered the Iloilo City College as housing for the hospital personnel.

“I have been receiving messages today that our fellow Ilonggos who are in the medical field are discriminated against. Buses reject them, karinderyas (eateries) won’t sell to them, their landlords evicted them. We should not allow this to happen,” Treñas said in a statement.

“Please keep in mind if they cannot eat, they cannot go to work or cannot sleep who will take care of you if you will be infected? Would you also want them to treat you the same?” he said.

Villa said they will also house personnel in rooms except those in their isolation floor where the COVID-19 patient and those suspected to be infected are confined.

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He clarified that hospital personnel dealing with the patient have been quarantined and are not mingling with other personnel.

“We are observing all protocols because we have been preparing for this. We knew that it was just a matter of time that one of the patients will test positive. Our personnel are equipped with the required personal protective equipment,” he told the INQUIRER.

Villa said they were also overwhelmed with the expression of support for their personnel.

“Many have donated food and offered accommodations for us which shows there are more people who understand the value of our work and of our health personnel,” he said.

/MUF

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