MANILA - Government's overpriced procurement of substandard medical supplies with Pharmally was a "devilish act" to health workers, an official of a nurses' group said Monday.
The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee had found that government bought face masks from Pharmally at P27.72 and that it had supplied near expiry face shields and COVID-19 test kits.
Health workers are "devastated" as they suffer in the pandemic frontline without sufficient protective equipment, according to Janice Pauline Budy, president of Filipino Nurses United-San Lazaro Hospital chapter.
"Continuing [ang] nararanasan naming hirap, pagod tapos malalaman namin ang kabulastugan na ginawa talaga, parang devilish act na po yun para sa'min lalo pa na recently meron kaming co-doctor na kamamatay lang," she told ANC's Headstart.
(We continously struggle and then we hear about what they did, it's like a devilish act to us, especially since one of our co-doctors recently died.)
"Hindi mawala sa isip ko na maraming tinamaaan sa hanay namin nurses, mga doctor sa ginawa ng DOH (Department of Health). Kaya talagang nakakagalit, galit na po kami sa panahong ito sa mga ka-demonyohan nila."
(I can't help but think how many of our colleagues got infected with the virus because of what DOH did. It's really maddening.)
Medical frontliners at the infectious disease referral hospital pitch in and find sponsors to help them procure cost-efficient personal protective equipment, Budy said.
"Sariling naming bulsa, humahanap kami ng sponsor kasi medyo may kamahalan pero in the long run cost-efficient siya mas mababa ang magagastos mo kung suma total," she said.
(We pay for it from our own pockets, we look for sponsors because it's pricey but cost-efficient in the long run.)
She added that health workers last year requested respirators from the authorities. They were given counterfeit respirator masks whcih were not approved by the World Health Organization and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, she said.
"Ang sa'min bat di kami maprovide-an ng kalidad kung buhay lang din naman namin ang nakasalalay at syempre buhay din ng pasyente ang maapektuhan," she said.
(Why can't they provide us quality equipment if our lives are on the line and it will also affect patients?)
Health workers have also yet to receive their meal, accommodation and transport allowance, she added.