Frontliners stage #ProtestFromWards to call for protection amid COVID-19 pandemic

“The government’s inaction on our plight is unacceptable. But still, we are committed to continue serving our people wholeheartedly with the highest degree of responsibility and efficiency.”

By REIN TARINAY
Bulatlat.com

MANILA — Health workers from different hospitals held an online protest today, March 30 to demand sufficient personal protective equipment (PPE) and protection against discrimination n the time of the pandemic.

In a statement, Alliance of Health Workers’ (AHW) Public Relations Officer Eleazar Sobinsky stated that the lack of PPE worsened the frontliners’ vulnerability to the pandemic.

“There are already 12 doctors who succumbed to the disease and many of our fellow health workers are sick (tested positive) due to lack of personal protective equipment (PPE),” AHW said in a statement.

Health workers from the National Center for Mental Health

Twenty-six health workers from public hospitals in Metro Manila have been tested positive for COVID-19, according to AHW.

AHW criticized the government for intentionally withholding funds that should have been used to purchase medical supplies and equipment, and for the construction of facilities. The Department of Health has instead been relying on donations from abroad, private sectors and from health worker’s own pockets, the group said.

Health workers from the National Children’s Hospital

AHW National President Robert Mendoza said, “The government’s inaction on our plight is unacceptable. But still, we are committed to continue serving our people wholeheartedly with the highest degree of responsibility and efficiency.”

The group also decried the harassment against health workers.

On March 25, health workers from Valenzuela City had to pay a fine amounting to P5,000 after being caught riding a motorcycle going home from work.

Last March 27, a health worker from St. Louis Hospital was violently attacked on his way home.

A nursing supervisor at Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center

The online protest, dubbed as #ProtestFromWards, urged the Duterte’s administration to:

1. Urgently provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to all frontline health workers to all public and private hospitals to ensure safety against the disease

2. Free testing to all health workers exposed to COVID-19 patients

3. Hire and train REGULAR health workers to handle COVID-19

4. Provide additional hazard pay benefits and compensation to all health workers handling COVID-19 patients

5. Increase health budget to at least five percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

6. Provide free transportation to all health workers

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