Provincial hospitals to DOH: Protect us in virus fight
BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines — “If you can’t send us enough personal protective equipment (PPEs), send us coffins.”
Dr. Julius Drilon, chief of Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital (CLMMRH) in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental province, issued this statement on Tuesday to show his frustration over the government’s response to the needs of provincial hospitals in the forefront of the battle against the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Drilon again urged the Department of Health (DOH) to send more PPEs to CLMMRH doctors, nurses and support staff who were taking care of COVID-19 patients.
He said the hospital’s supply of PPEs was down to 150, which would last for only four days. CLMMRH is currently attending to four persons under investigation (PUIs) for COVID-19 infection and its regular patients.
He lamented that PPEs being sent to the provinces had come in trickles since the DOH focus was on Metro Manila.
‘On our own’
“It seems they don’t understand the condition in the provinces,” Drilon said. “It feels like we are on our own,” he said, adding that the hospital staff could not survive on donations from the community alone.
Drilon said he wanted to make sure that the staff would survive the fight against COVID-19, more so since several doctors had already died because of the virus around the country.
He was thankful to Negrenses who had provided them with improvised PPEs. Drilon said the quality of the PPEs was being checked to ensure the hospital staff’s adequate protection.
Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson said the provincial government, which oversees its hospitals in Negros Occidental, was providing 100 PPEs to CLMMRH, a DOH-managed health center.
According to Drilon, CLMMRH is looking after the first wave of PUIs and is expecting more patients when the situation peaks in mid-April. When that happens, he said, the staff would not last without PPEs.
“If health workers die, who will take care of the patients?” he asked. “The bureaucratic red tape should stop. Immediate needs should be addressed.”
In Pangasinan province, Region I Medical Center (RIMC) based in Dagupan City has been surviving on support and donations from people, business companies and nongovernment organizations, while awaiting medical supply replenishment from the DOH.RIMC, a referral hospital for PUIs, has enough supply of PPEs, but its chief, Roland Mejia, said he was worried once stocks had run out.
Decena Hospital and the Lingayen-Dagupan archdiocese also offered shelter for the medical workers, he said.
In Benguet province, health workers of Cordillera Hospital of the Divine Grace (CHDG) and other hospitals and medical professionals in La Trinidad town and in nearby Baguio City have been making their own protective face shields out of recycled acetate sheets as supplies remain low.
Reusable body suits were also sewn from used hospital sheets in one CHDG room.
—WITH REPORTS FROM YOLANDA SOTELO, KARLSTON LAPNITEN AND VALERIE DAMIAN
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