By Joseph Cuevas
The Alliance of Health Workers (AHW) demanded from the Duterte administration and the Department of Health (DOH) the implementation of free mandatory Coronavirus mass testing for all health workers in public and private hospitals and health facilities.
In a statement, AHW president Robert Mendoza said they disagree with the statement issued by the DOH last Tuesday that only patients and healthcare workers who exhibit mild, severe and critical symptoms would be prioritized in the expanded mass testing.
Mendoza said that as front liners health workers should be checked regularly and must be coronavirus free since they are the ones taking care of patients.
“We are very much worried and alarmed about the health condition of our fellow heath workers. Mostly, those health workers who died were infected due to lack of personal protective equipment, aggravated by 12 hours duty a day for 7 to 8 days,” Mendoza said.
“The government must immediately distribute PPE to ensure and protect health workers, hire and train more additional permanent health workers, and increase the public hospital budget,” he added.
Mendoza also urges DOH to immediately issue directives to conduct free mandatory mass testing among hospital workers in public and private hospitals and health facilities to help contain the spread of the virus as well as immediately implement medical interventions.
AHW also asked the government to implement mass testing at the barangay level and provide proper orientation and protective gear to all barangay health workers (BHW) accompanied by a nurse to do the house to house inspection to ensure that all COVID-19 patients will be traced and treated.
DOH reported that there are 766 health workers who tested positive, 339 of whom are doctors while 342 are nurses.
Twenty two health workers have succumbed to the disease.
The Philippines has recorded 5878 cases of the coronavirus disease, 387 of which resulted in deaths, giving the country the worst record in Southeast Asia and the highest percentage of health worker fatalities in the world. #