A University of the Philippines professor said Friday the government should consider hiring additional healthcare workers in the front lines as “urgent”, as COVID-19 cases in the country continue to increase.
Professor Ranjit Rye said improving hospital capacity is not only about adding beds and ventilators. Rye is part of the UP OCTA research team that studies the transmission of COVID-19 in the Philippines.
“Naghihirap po sila ngayon, kailangan urgent po ang response ng government na dagdagan ho ‘yung mga doktor, nurses, at health workers ngayon dahil may surge po talaga dito sa NCR,” he said in an interview on Dobol B sa News TV.
(They are suffering now, the government needs an urgent response to increase the number of doctors, nurses, and health workers now because there is a surge here in NCR.)
He added the government should also ensure patients who are not suffering from COVID-19 will not be crowded out of hospitals.
President Rodrigo Duterte announced Friday morning that Metro Manila and other areas with a high number of COVID-19 cases would remain under the general community quarantine (GCQ).
Bulacan, Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, Cebu City, Lapu-Lapu City, Mandaue City, Minglanilla and Consolacion towns in Cebu province, and Zamboanga City would also remain under HCQ, while the rest of the country is under a modified GCQ.
“‘Yan po ang implikasyon ng GCQ decision na ‘to: Kailangan natin tulungan ‘yung mga health care workers natin. Ang hospital capacity improvement, hindi ho beds at ventilators, usapin ho ‘yan ng healthcare workers… Sila ang number one nating kailangang protektahan ngayon kasi mapupuno talaga ang mga ospital natin,” Rye said.
(That’s the implication if the GCQ decision: We need to help our health care workers. Hospital capacity improvement is not about beds and ventilators, that’s a matter for healthcare workers. They are the number one we need to protect now because our hospitals will really be full.)
The government has an existing emergency hiring program for healthcare workers, but Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the number of applicants plateaued.
“Yung sa emergency hiring, 6,000 na personnel ang na-hire for hospitals so [other] hospital staff can rest. Pero nag-plateau [na ang number ng nag-aaply]. Walang masyadong takers sa slots na meron tayo, kaya pinag-uusapan namin within the Department of Health kung paano makakakuha [ng dagdag na tao],” she said Monday.