MANILA — The Department of Health on Thursday said it would take advantage of the 14-day modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) by ramping up its hiring of health workers for the COVID-19 response.
This, after President Rodrigo Duterte restored the stricter lockdown in Metro Manila and surrounding provinces following the request of medical societies for a "timeout" and "breathing space" as they warned the health care system was at a breaking point, with weary hospital personnel handling the surge in COVID-19 cases.
“We are in need of almost 10,000 health care workers. This means the call [for a] timeout really means substitution,” said Health Undersecretary Leopoldo “Bong” Vega during the launch of the One Hospital Command.
In requesting for a timeout, the medical workers said they need time to address the deluge of patients in hospitals due to the exponential rise in COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila and nearby hospitals.
Health workers themselves have also been infected with COVID-19, with 5,245 cases as of Aug. 4.
“We will not end the game but rather we will find fresh or new recruits into the system so the efficiency of our health care workers will be there," said Vega.
As of Aug. 2, the government has hired 6,510 health workers out of the 9,365 approved slots for emergency hiring in 340 health facilities.
During the MECQ, the DOH said it would work with medical societies in coming up with new strategies for the COVID-19 response. The quarantine level will be in effect until August 18.