WHO to govt: Ensure number of health workers, healthcare capacity

·Contributor
·1 min read
FILE PHOTO: A healthcare worker seals a swab sample after testing vendors at Pritil Public Market amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Tondo, Manila, Philippines, October 8, 2020. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez
FILE PHOTO: A healthcare worker seals a swab sample after testing vendors at Pritil Public Market amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Tondo, Manila, Philippines, October 8, 2020. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez

As the number of COVID-19 infections in the Philippines continues to rise, the World Health Organization (WHO) urged the government to ensure sufficient healthcare capacity in the country.

Dr. Takeshi Kasai, WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific, took note of the government’s efforts to improve the country’s healthcare system, while stressing that support for manpower is just as important as hospital capacity.

“What is important is actually not just beds but to make sure there are doctors and nurses and there’s also sufficient equipment – and also the support to those working very hard,” Kasai said during the virtual press briefing on Wednesday (August 25).

Pointing out the alarming surge of cases that have spread from Metro Manila to other parts of the county, Kasai noted that “in some places...the hospitals are overwhelmed.”

The regional director also called attention to the plight of healthcare workers. “We heard that healthcare workers are all really exhausted,” he said.

Healthcare workers are still underpaid and overworked more than a year after the pandemic began. A recent Commission on Audit (COA) audit report, however, showed that the health department failed to disburse P11.89 ($2.38) billion that was supposed to cover the hazard pay and special risk allowances (SRAs) of health care workers. Following COA’s revelation, workers groups and unions have warned against mass resignations across the country.

Meanwhile, amid protests within the health sector, the Philippines reported its highest single-day spike with 18,332 new cases on Tuesday.

Ana Catalina Paje is a development journalist passionate about grassroots communication geared towards genuine social change. She also writes about showbiz, lifestyle, and all things Pinoy pride. The views expressed are her own.

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