Shortened protocols for health workers are dehumanizing: solon

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  • 2022 Philippine Elections
    2022 Philippine Elections
MANILA, PHILIPPINES - AUGUST 30: A health worker wearing a hazmat suit takes part in a walkout as he and others protest their unreleased benefits amid the pandemic, at the National Kidney and Transplant Institute Hospital on August 30, 2021 in Quezon city, Metro Manila, Philippines. Health workers carrying the brunt of pandemic in the Philippines have warned of mass protests on September 1 if the government fails to release their delayed benefits and allowances. They are also calling for the resignation of health minister Francisco Duque III for allegedly mishandling around $1.34 billion worth of Covid-19 funds. The country is struggling to cope with a huge wave of cases fueled by the more infectious Delta variant. Recording more than 1.9 million cases and more than 33,000 deaths, the Philippines continues to suffer the second-worst outbreak of the pandemic in Southeast Asia, with every one out of four people tested turning out positive for the coronavirus. (Photo by Ezra Acayan/Getty Images)
FILE PHOTO: A health worker wearing a hazmat suit takes part in a walkout as he and others protest their unreleased benefits amid the pandemic, at the National Kidney and Transplant Institute Hospital on August 30, 2021 in Quezon city, Metro Manila, Philippines. (Photo: Ezra Acayan/Getty Images)

Senatorial aspirant Neri Colmenares of the Makabayang Koalisyon ng mga Mamamayan (MAKABAYAN) bloc criticized the Department of Health’s (DOH) new quarantine and work protocols for healthcare workers.

Under new protocols, patients who are asymptomatic, have mild, or moderate symptoms only need to isolate for five days – a sharp decrease from the original ten days.

“I share the distress expressed by our health workers over the recent modification of their quarantine and work protocols by the DOH. Para nating pinapambala sa Omicron variant ang ating mga medical frontliners (It’s like we want our medical frontliners to acquire the Omicron variant),” he said.

Colmenares said that the revised protocols may put healthcare workers more at risk of COVID-19 infection.

“By removing the prescribed quarantine periods for vaccinated, asymptomatic, and close contacts, we deprive our health workers the time to sufficiently and safely recover from possible infection so that they can do their job effectively, safely and with confidence,” Colmenares said. “Our doctors, nurses and other health professionals need time to recover and keep safe from being infected or infecting others, considering their long hours on duty and extraordinary exposure to the Covid-19 virus."

He stressed that healthcare workers must be more careful in how they follow health protocols, considering the high risk nature of their work and being constantly exposed to the virus.

“Unlike ordinary workers, who can get back to work without complying with full quarantine requirements and negative tests, our health workers need extra precaution for their sake and that of their patients,” he said.

The senatorial aspirant then called on to reimpose the former guidelines set by the DOH, as supported by healthcare workers who also criticized the department.

“I support the call of our health workers to reinstate the previous quarantine protocols imposed on them. Yes we need all frontliners on-board due to the surge, pero hindi sila mga superhero. Ordinaryong tao pa rin sila at hindi immune sa virus (Yes we need frontliners on-board due to the surge, but they are not superheroes. They are still ordinary people and not immune to the virus),” Colmenares said.

Ngayong mas nakakalula ang sitwasyon ng COVID 19, kailangan natin mas pahalagahan ang ating mga frontliners (Now that the situation of COVID-19 has worsened, we need to give importance to our frontliners).”

Mark Ernest Famatigan is a news writer who focuses on Philippine politics. He is an advocate for press freedom and regularly follows developments in the Philippine economy. The views expressed are his own.

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