Health workers ask gov’t for relief from ‘agony’ of fighting COVID-19 surge | Inquirer News

Health workers ask gov’t for relief from ‘agony’ of fighting COVID-19 surge

/ 07:03 AM April 01, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Alliance of Health Workers staged a noon demonstration on Wednesday to call attention to the hardships they had to endure during the COVID-19 surge, particularly in areas that part of the so-called and the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) bubble, which is composed of Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal.

“In the midst of a pandemic, we health workers are the ones experiencing the true essence of agony. During lockdowns, where we have nothing to ride going to the hospital we work, we chose to walk far just to continue the service we provided for our patients,” Edwin Pacheco, chair of the National Kidney and Transplant Institute Employees Association — AHW, said in a statement, which was posted on the AHW Facebook page.

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“The government does not offer free rides, if there is, not everyone can avail because it’s limited. So when we arrived at the hospital, we were tired and hungry,”  he added.

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The AHW also stressed that some of their colleagues were dying without even reaping the fruit of their advocacies, with the alleged non-issuance of the Philippine General Hospital workers’ Special Risk Allowance, and the supposed return of budgets for health worker by the National Center for Mental Health (NCMH) and the Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital (DJFMH).

According to the AHW, it seems the government is not even interested in aiding the health workers who are directly up against COVID-19.

“We are saddened and angered because many from our ranks are contracted with the deadly virus, and just last week we lost a colleague and comrade from NKTI and one from PHC. They died of not getting the benefits that they used to fight for.” Pacheco explained.

“As the entire NCR and other neighboring provinces have been returned to ECQ, we demand from the government to provide us proper and decent accommodation to health workers who live in distant places, so as to protect our family from being infected with the virus we carry at home from our work.” Cristy Donguines, a nurse and president of the AHW chapter at the Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center, added.

As of Wednesday, the Department of Health data showed that there were over 130,000 active COVID-19 infections after another 6,128 patients tested positive.

AHW National President Robert Mendoza called on President Rodrigo Duterte to do something about their plight, saying: “As the COVID-19 cases surge anew and the government imposes ECQ for the second time around, we urge the Duterte administration to listen to the health workers’ demands and prioritize the health workers’ and people’s health and well-being above anything so that the lives sacrificed by our fellow health workers in fighting this pandemic will not be wasted.”

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