MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) has changed its decision of mandatory deployment of barrio doctors to Cebu City, the new epicenter of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), following opposition to its planned augmentation of healthcare workers to the city.
On Monday (June 30), the DOH Region 6 in Western Visayas issued an order temporarily suspending the deployment of 40 rural doctors to the virus-stricken city.
The Regional Office maintained it will not lift the suspension unless concerns and issues raised by the healthcare workers and stakeholders are settled.
The DOH confirmed the action of its Regional Office in Western Visayas thus it decided to commission barrio doctors who will be sent to private hospitals in Cebu City on a voluntary basis after discussions with other DOH Regional Offices and hospital management in Western and Central Visayas.
“Meron naman tayong ipapadala kaya lang hindi na iyong nailista namin na pangalan. Voluntary na iyong magiging proseso [We will be deploying a team but not those who we previously listed. The process will now be voluntary],” confirmed DOH Undersecretary and Spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire.
“So among all of these DTTBs (Doctors to the Barrios) who are willing and amenable to these types of arrangements they are the ones who are going to be deployed to Region 7,” she added.
The DOH clarified that the main tasks of the augmentation force do not include surgery and other critical care functions that are assigned to resident doctors in Cebu.
“Hindi sila ilalagay sa mga areas na like operating rooms. Iyong mga may specialization na kailangan [They will not be assigned in areas like operating rooms but only those who have the needed specialization],” Vergeire explained.
“They would be supplemental to the Triage area. Sa mga outpatient units doon sila ilalagay [They will be assigned in the outpatient units],” she added.
Deployment of rural doctors or those under the ‘Doctor of the Barrios’ will be every two weeks.
They will be given two week rest every time they return to their localities to complete the required quarantine period. MNP (with reports from Aiko Miguel)
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