Health workers cited for ‘Yolanda’ relief work
MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday recognized the efforts of health workers and organizations who have dedicated their time, services, expertise and resources to the victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda that hit the country in November last year.
“To the almost 9,000 medical/health responders from about 222 institutions and agencies, including the 351 medical teams both local and foreign, thanking you is an understatement. The DOH is indebted to all of you,” Health Secretary Enrique Ona said during the recognition ceremony in Pasay City.
“While we acknowledge that our help and support to Yolanda-affected areas is far from ceasing, at the moment there is some breathing space for us to pause and reflect, and to modestly acknowledge those who have been our partners in relief assistance,” he said.
Among those given recognition were local government units, local health teams and volunteers, DOH regional hospitals and offices, and foreign partners who went out of their way to extend every help they could.
Awardees included the team from Albay, one of the first to arrive on November 10, when the areas were in total darkness, after traveling by ferry from Matnog, Sorsogon and by land to Tacloban City.
The team from the National Capital Region, meanwhile, was deployed but their supply of goods was left behind in Cebu. This team had trouble eating for two days and relied on cookies and doleouts from other groups.
“What we are doing today is not about assigning credit; rather, it is about giving thanks, with a grateful heart,” Ona said.
“We are giving thanks to the many foreign teams who, despite the barriers of time and travel brought about by geography, went out of their way to physically come to our aid. We are giving thanks to our own local health teams, government agencies, civil society organizations, and the countless individuals who chose to remain anonymous: they are the personification of bayanihan, that Filipino value which through their actions is very much alive,” he said.
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