Health workers plead for help amid surge in COVID-19 patients, lack of facilities

“Parang-awa lang po, sana matulungan niyo kami.”

(For pity’s sake, I hope you can help us.)

This was the plea of healthcare worker Jeremy Cordero as the number of patients increased amid a lack of facilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Saleema Refran’s report on “24 Oras,” healthcare workers said that the reports of the government do not match what is happening at hospitals.

“Malubha na po ang sitwasyon namin. May mga panahon na kailangan na po namin humindi sa mga pasyente na agaw buhay dahil wala na po kaming kama dito sa emergency department,” Cordero, College of Emergency Medicine VP, said.

(Our situation is really bad. There are times when we have to say no to patients that are fighting for their life due to the lack of available beds in the emergency department.)

“Wala na po kaming mechanical ventilator, wala na rin po kaming oxygen sa ibang mga ospital. Parang-awa lang po, sana matulungan niyo kami,” he added.

(We have no mechanical ventilators and no oxygen at hospitals. Please, I hope you can help us.)

Meanwhile, Philippine College of Physicians president Dr. Maricar Limpin said the expansion of facilities cannot keep pace with the increase in cases.

“Ine-expect ho namin it will get worse. Titindi pa po ang pandemya. Nauunahan ng pagdami ng kaso ang paglaki ng kapasidad ng sistema,” Limpin said.

(We expect that it will get worse. The pandemic will get worse. The increase in cases is overtaking the expansion of the healthcare system’s capacity.)

Provincial health officer Dr. Jacqueline Momville also shared the difficulties they were facing.

“Sobrang hirap na rin po talaga. Kawawa rin ang mga pasyente, dahil sa Agusan del Sur, hindi po kayang magbayad ng mga pasyente. Lubog na rin ang aming mga hospital sa utang utang, pero kailangan po gawin para masolusyonan,” she said.

(It’s really hard. It’s also difficult for the patients because in Agusan del Sur some patients cannot afford to pay. Our hospitals are also drowning in debt, but we need to find a solution.)

Benefits

Amid these hardships, the Healthcare Professionals Alliance against COVID-19 (HPAAC) again raised the issue of their delayed benefits.

“Ang dami po nating unspent or misspent money. Kaya hindi po namin naiintindihan kung bakit hanggang ngayon, hindi pa binabayaran ang maraming ospital at hindi pa ipinagkakaloob sa mga healthcare workers ang ipinangakong benepisyo,” Dr. Aileen Espina said.

(We have so much unspent or misspent money. That’s why we don’t understand why so many hospitals have not yet been paid or why the promised benefits have yet to be distributed until now.)

HPAAC also pleaded with the public to follow health protocols

“Dahil sa inyo, kinakayanan namin ang trabaho. At dahil sa inyo, tumitibay ang aming paniniwala na kung mag tutulungan tayo, kaya nating labanan ang pandemyang ito,” HPAAC lead convenor Dr. Antonio Dans said.

(Because of you, we can find the strength to keep working. Because of you, our belief that if we work together we can overcome the pandemic, continues to strengthen.)

“Sa aming kapwa healthcare workers, hugot po tayo ng lakas sa ating pagkakaisa para maitawid natin itong pandemya nang magkakasama,” he added.

(To our fellow healthcare workers, let us find strength in our unity to get through the pandemic together.)

Health Department

For its part, the Department of Health said it will continue to improve the health system in the country. It also promised that it is asking for additional funds for the next batch of special risk allowances for healthcare workers.

“Kararating lang po ng aming mga deliveries ng mga equipments na kailangan po ng ating mga hospitals and we were able to provide already for most of the hospitals,” Health undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said.

(The equipment needed by our hospitals has just arrived and we were able to provide already for most of the hospitals.)

“Mechanical ventilators, dumating po siya ngayong linggo. May dumating din pong high-flow nasal cannulas, may parating din pong oxygen concentrators,” she added.

(The mechanical ventilators arrived this week. Some high-flow nasal cannulas also arrived while some oxygen concentrators are on their way.)

— Joahna Lei Casilao/DVM, GMA News

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