Health workers oppose DOH unit memo requiring names of COVID patients they helped

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 01 2021 03:37 PM | Updated as of Dec 02 2021 12:32 PM

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MANILA – Health workers are opposing the order of a Department of Health (DOH) unit requiring hospitals and other health facilities to resubmit their computation of the special risk allowances (SRA) that their staff are supposed to receive using new templates.

Among the new information required by the Bicol Center for Health Development, in a memo dated Sept. 24, is the list of names of the COVID-19 patients the health workers have attended to.

“Lalo ngayong pinalala. Pinalala yung ngayon nung bagong pinalabas po nilang bagong memo, bagong patakaran na kailangan po namin mag-submit ng mga pasyente na nahawakan namin,” Cristy Donguines, who heads the Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center Employees Union chapter of the Alliance of Health Workers, said Wednesday.

“Napakamali naman noon, Sir. Kasi kahit na ba naman sa opisina ka, ang mga hinahawakan mong papel, galing sa labas, hindi mo naman siya kailangang i-disinfect. Hindi mo naman siya pwedeng ibabad sa alcohol. Hindi mo rin siya pwedeng ibabad sa Zonrox, para lang ma-disinfect mo ang mga papel.”

“So lahat ng papel na yun na hinahawakan ng mga nasa admin natin, nasa offices natin, ay galing yan sa mga ward. Umikot ýun sa buong hospital.”

Donguines said it is a wrong move on the part of the DOH to categorize health workers as those who directly attend to COVID-19 patients, and those who do not.

“Kinokondena po natin yang ganyang klaseng sistema po dahil once pumasok po tayo sa mga hospital po, risky na po talaga ang pagpasok natin. Dahil itong kalaban po natin na virus ay hindi natin nakikita. So anytime, anywhere tsaka kahit saan ka mapunta, pwede ka maapektuhan ng COVID-19 virus po.”

“So napakalaking kamalian po at hindi tama ang ginagawa po sa atin ng Department of Health at ng gobyerno po natin na magkakaroon ng categorization po,” she said.

“Kahit na hindi ka nagke-cater, hindi kami COVID referral hospital, napapasukan kami ng COVID patient na nabubulaga ka na lang. Pagpasok, walang sintomas. Pag nandoon na sa loob, saka nagdi-develop ng sintomas,” she added.

“So yun yung mga nakapaligid sa kanya, yung nagke-cater sa kaniya, [sa] mga patients na yun, naaapektuhan.”

Donguines said healthcare workers assigned in hospitals are risking their lives in the fight against COVID-19. 

“Tayong mga healthcare workers, ‘pag pumasok tayo sa ospital, risky na ang lahat. So tinataya mo na ang buhay mo, na yung isang paa mo ay nakabaon na sa hukay, na hindi mo alam kung ikaw ba ay naka-acquire ka na ng virus na iuwi mo siya sa pamilya mo.”

Donguines said healthcare workers are only asking government for what is due them.

“Nakakalungkot isipin na sa P200, roughly P200 a day [na] makukuha mo, ipagdadamot pa nila, samantala buhay mo ang nakataya dito. P5,000 a month ang hinihingi lang namin,” she lamented.

“At saka, hindi kami humihingi nang sobra-sobra. Kung ano yung nakasulat, yung lang din po,” she said.

“Kung tutuusin, natutuwa kami kasi binigyan nila kami ng importansya. Pero nung nabasa namin ang nakapaloob po dito, nakakalungkot naman isipin na kailangan, parang kailangan pa namin lumalabas na parang nagmamakaaawa pa kami sa P200 per day na ibibigay nila sa amin.”

“Nakakalungkot isipin kasi ang buhay namin ay hindi halagang P5,000 lang,” she said.

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The DOH will look into the matter, Health Undersecretary and spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire said.

"This I'm not really aware of. This might be some requirements being given by our hospital on the ground so they can verify," she told ANC's Headstart on Thursday.

"We are going to check on that, this should not be something to be required from healthcare workers."

The agency said over the weekend that over P15.7 billion worth of benefits for healthcare workers have been disbursed, as of Nov. 26, 2021.

It said that nearly P8 billion worth of SRA have been released to 486,585 health workers from Dec. 20, 2020 to June 30, 2021. A total of over P6.5 billion in SRA and active hazard duty pay (AHDP) was also disbursed last year for 315,652 and 390,662 health workers, respectively, the agency added.

There were also 103,413 health workers who were given their meals, accommodation and transportation (MAT) benefits worth over P1.23 billion, the DOH said.

“The Department is committed to recognizing the important contribution of our healthcare workers in the fight against COVID-19, hence we aim to provide them with the compensation and benefits they deserve as stated in Republic Act 11494 or the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act," Health Usec. Leopoldo Vega said in a statement.

"We are continuously coordinating with local government units to fast track the disbursement of remaining SRA funds to eligible healthcare workers for the period of December 20, 2020 to June 30, 2021,'' he added.

--ANC, 1 December 2021