‘A higher calling’: 16 Eastern Visayas health workers deploy to virus hotspot NCR Plus
TACLOBAN CITY—At least 16 health workers from Eastern Visayas were deployed to virus hotspot Metro Manila and four nearby provinces on Wednesday (April 7) as reinforcement in hospitals already collapsing under the weight of a continuing surge in COVID-19 cases.
Dr. Exuperia Sabalberino, director of the Department of Health (DOH) in Eastern Visayas, lauded the decision of a doctor and 15 nurses to help their counterparts in Metro Manila and the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal.
“As health workers, we have a moral obligation to help those who are in despair,” she said at a send-off ceremony for the health workers at the Daniel Z. Romualdez Airport.
“We are ready to respond 24/7,” she said.
“There is a higher call for each one of you and I’m sure God will bless you in some other ways. We will be praying for your safety,” she added.
Dr. Shiena Ann Legaspi, the lone doctor in the group, said she was happy to respond to the call for help of the national government for her counterparts in the so-called NCR Plus.
“While I am a little bit nervous I am still happy to serve during this time of pandemic,” said Legaspi, a native of the Cordillera region but assigned to the rural health unit in Basey town, Samar province for two years now.
Sabalberino said the 16 health workers would be assigned to the Lung Center of the Philippines in Quezon City for at least two weeks to at most two months, depending on the COVID-19 situation in the hospital.
She said the 16 health workers already received their first doses of coronavirus vaccine, except for Jerson Edillo, a nurse at the rural health unit of Libagon town, Southern Leyte province who was set to get his vaccine at the Lung Center.
Benigno Paulino, who is assigned to a rural health unit in Sta. Margarita town, Samar, said that he has enough experience in dealing with COVID-19 patients.
The 32-year-old nurse said that he was assigned to areas in the region like Tarangnan town, Samar, where there were high cases of COVID-19.
“I am ready now. I am already vaccinated and I will just try to be extra careful,” he said.
Sabalberino said the deployment of the group would not lead to a lack of health workers in the region as there were enough health professionals in Eastern Visayas who are ready just in case there’s a surge of COVID-19 cases.
Eastern Visayas currently has 16,843 COVID-19 cases.
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