The Alliance of Healthcare Worker (AHW) – a group of nurses, doctors, and other healthcare practitioners – have asked the government to implement mass testing for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) among their ranks, regardless of being asymptomatic.
AHW STATEMENT April 17, 2020Health Workers Alarmed Over Rapid Increase of COVID-19 Cases in Their Ranks AHW…
“We deplore the recent announcement of the DOH [Department of Health] that only those health workers with severe or mild symptoms of COVID-19 are eligible for testing,” their statement begins. “Health workers as the frontliners should be checked regularly and must be a coronavirus free since they are the ones taking care of the patients.”
They cite concern over “the rapid increase in the number of positive cases and deaths among health workers in hospitals and health facilities” as justification.
The DOH recently reported a total of 766 COVID-19 cases among health workers across the Philippines. Of that number, 22 have succumbed to the virus.
“We are very much worried and alarmed about the health condition of our fellow health workers,” said AHW President Robert Mendoza. “Mostly, those health workers who died and infected are due to lack of personal protective equipment aggravated by 12 hours duty a day for 7 to 8 days in half of the month.”
“Who will provide quality healthcare to our patients if our healthcare providers become patients too?” he questions. “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.”
Aside from mass testing, AHW also called for the DOH to consistently post on its official website all reports related to COVID-19 cases. This includes the specific numbers of health workers categorized confirmed, suspect and probable per hospital or health facility, and specify the plantilla position being occupied by the respective health worker concerned.
“Hospitals will not be able to handle large number of patients if our frontline health workers are infected and cannot report for work,” they state.
“If we can’t stop the spread of the virus at the community level then eventually the whole health system will collapse.”
They end their appeal by asking the government to listen to its people.
They believe that “this fight against coronavirus will never succeed if government does not allow full participation of the people in the whole process of planning, decision making and implementation of laws, policies, and programs of government at all levels.”
“Government authorities should not treat and view its people as mere blind followers of their decisions, hard- headed, and worse, their enemies.”
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