Wanted: More doctors, molecular biologists in DOH’s fight vs coronavirus

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 20 2020 07:43 PM | Updated as of May 20 2020 07:44 PM

Wanted: More doctors, molecular biologists in DOH’s fight vs coronavirus 1
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said more than 3,000 individuals have already signed up since the DOH started its emergency hiring, but some job vacancies are hard to fill. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/file

MANILA—The Department of Health on Wednesday said it has been getting a lot of volunteers for the country’s COVID-19 response program, except for some professions. 

“Maraming gustong mag-volunteer,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said during a virtual media briefing.

(There are many who want to volunteer.)

She said more than 3,000 individuals have already signed up since the DOH started its emergency hiring, but some job vacancies are hard to fill. 

“Merong specific na professions na mahirap hagilapin, katulad ng ating mga doktor. Hindi ganu’n kadami ang ating volunteers,” she said.

(There are specific professions that are hard to find, such as doctors. We don’t have a lot of volunteers.)

Vergeire said molecular biologists and medical technologists are also not that common in the Philippines.

“Iyan ang medyo kailangan natin makipag-usap sa iba’t ibang universities para mag-partner with them at para pahiramin tayo,” she said.

(That requires us to talk to various universities, so we can partner with them and borrow some of their people.)

In March, several health workers’ groups and doctors questioned the DOH’s allocation of P500 daily allowance for volunteers. 

But the department later explained that it was based on their standard rate for volunteers and that it was working on finding additional compensation.

The DOH earlier said that it needs 15,000 health workers. But Vergeire said that is just based on estimates in case COVID-19 cases surge in the country.

Vergeire said the department is also hiring people for laboratories and for encoding of test results. Testing backlogs have been attributed to delays in encoding those results.

“Hindi pa ganu’n kahirap tayo but we will see as the days pass,” she said.

(We are not yet having difficulty hiring but we will see as the days pass.)