MANILA- The Department of Health will hire 857 more healthcare workers to augment its overwhelmed workforce leading the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, President Rodrigo Duterte said in his report to Congress on Monday.
The workers, hired on a contractual setup, will be deployed to COVID-19 referral hospitals namely the Lung Center of the Philippines, Philippine General Hospital, and the Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital.
Based on the President's report, the majority of the new healthcare workers are nurses at 267, followed by nursing attendants at 204, ward assistants at 118, respiratory therapists at 85, and medical officers at 82.
Other healthcare workers to be hired are 36 ambulance drivers, 35 radiologic technologists, and 30 medical equipment technicians.
The hiring of new healthcare workers will cost the health department P35.82 million per month which will be charged to their budget, the report stated.
On Monday, the DOH said it would also deploy over 300 volunteer laboratory workers to supplement its manpower such as medical technologists, molecular biologists, lab technicians, and researchers.
The move comes just as the Philippines prepares to expand its COVID-19 testing, with the target of conducting 8,000 to 10,000 tests per day by the end of April.
Currently, there are 15 certified laboratories for COVID-19 testing in the country with more health facilities undergoing accreditation.
As of Monday, the Philippines has recorded 4,932 confirmed COVID-19 cases. Of that number, 242 have recovered and 315 have died.