Group decries DOH's lack of plan to protect health workers amid quarantine extension | Inquirer News

Group decries DOH’s lack of plan to protect health workers amid quarantine extension

/ 07:50 PM April 24, 2020

MANILA, Philippines A health workers’ organization has criticized the government’s alleged lack of solid plan to protect medical frontliners especially with the extension of the enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila and other high-risk areas nationwide.

The Alliance of Health Workers (AHW) lamented Friday that medical frontliners are yet to receive ample protection against the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19, even citing the report of the Department of Health (DOH) on an increased number of infected medical practitioners.

“AHW has once again lambasted the DOH on its reluctance in responding with the demands of hospital workers in their fight against coronavirus transmission,” the group said in a statement.


“The enhanced community quarantine will now be extended up to May 15, 2020, and yet the government has not yet come up with a comprehensive medical plan to deal with the COVID-19 crisis,” they added.


On Wednesday, DOH said 1,062 of the more than 7,000 COVID-19 patients in the Philippines are healthcare workers and that 26 of then have already died.  DOH also said that the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) is not related to the high infection rates among health workers.

And despite reports that DOH is now importing almost a million PPE sets, this has not eased the fears of health workers, AHW National President Robert Mendoza said.

“We are anxious about the safety and well-being of our fellow healthcare workers. The rapid growths in the number of healthcare workers infected with the virus are now 1, 062, that’s according to DOH data,” Mendoza explained.

Previously, Mendoza and AHW called on the government to conduct mass testing among health workers — regardless of whether they have symptoms or not — as they appear to be the most vulnerable from contracting the disease.

On Thursday, the Commission on Human Rights urged DOH to expedite the accreditation of other COVID-19 testing centers after at 43 staff of the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) — the country’s main testing facility — got infected.

The World Health Organization, meanwhile, expressed alarm over the situation of health workers in the country, as 13 percent of the Philippines’ COVID-19 cases are health workers, higher than the Western Pacific region’s average of 2 to 3 percent.


According to AHW, “In public hospitals, frontline health workers are getting enraged over DOH’s culpability in providing them with adequate protective gear, equipment, supplies, medicines, quarantine facilities, regular and mandatory testing, free transportation, risks allowance, overtime pay, additional and regular health workforce.”

As for Mendoza, he said: “Our fellow health workers from different public hospitals reported that supplies of PPE coming from DOH is insufficient and that they are still relying on private donations.”

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TAGS: 2019-nCoV, AHW, COVID-19, DoH, ECQ, lockdown, nCoV update, Philippine news updates, PPE

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