Local Watchdog Expresses Concern as UPHS Health frontliners Contract
SOCIALWATCH PHILS·MONDAY, JUNE 29, 2020
Social Watch Philippines (SWP) calls for urgent implementation of support mechanism for health care frontliners as seven UP Diliman Health Service workers tested positive for COVID-19 recently.
On Tuesday, the DZUP Balita tweeted that seven University of the Philippines Health Service (UPHS) was tested positive of the corona virus. The UPHS promptly replied that all of the infected workers have been isolated and their close contacts have been traced by the UPHS Public Health Unit, assuring the public that services will continue at the said facilities.
According to the SWP, this development is important because “when prevention at homes and at the community level fail, patients are transferred to health facilities or hospitals, the third and final arena for treating COVID-19.”
“The health sector as a whole, the technical experts, and health workers are working round the clock to prevent health facilities from becoming overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients at the expense of those who are also sick with non-related COVID-19 diseases,” the group said.
SWP also noted that many health workers have become of persons under monitoring (PUM) and patients under investigation (PUI) for the Covid19, with some even succumbing to death as a result.
“As of May 13, 2020, COVID-19 has already claimed the lives of thirty-five (35) healthcare workers. With no cure in sight and with the disturbing shortages of equipment and supplies, more health workers are being exposed, and combined with co-morbidities and fatigue with the long and strenuous work hours, health workers are vulnerable and at high-risk of contracting the disease,” SWP said.
In a position paper on caring community and hospital frontliners submitted to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID), SWP listed down several proposals which calls among other things for equal hazard pay to all health workers in private and public sector and provision for meal and medical allowance and other related benefits to ease their burden.
The group also underscored the vulnerability of barangay health workers (BHWs) who are the frontliners in the community.
“The barangay health workers are grossly excluded in the public narratives despite their gargantuan tasks, and just like their hospital counterparts, they have very few or no PPEs provided to them and with virtually non-existent compensation packages,” the group added.
Both hospitals and barangay health workers also need free transportation, including free, clean and secured sleeping accommodation.
The SWP is also calling for the need for health workers to have essential training to handle COVID-19 patients, Persons Under Investigations (PUIs) and Persons Under Monitoring (PUMs), saying “what happened recently to UPHS workers recently is but another reason to the importance of training our frontline health workers for handling those with cases and providing them proper work orientation.”
“As a whole, we are calling for social, emotional, moral, and even spiritual support to our health workers needs to be an integral part of our response to this crisis. Decent work and appropriate compensation, benefits and incentives must be provided to health workers, along with ensuring appropriate and safe working arrangements and environment for them,” the group further explained.
About Social Watch Philippines
Social Watch Philippines (SWP), is a network of a hundred civil society organizations advocating for transparent, efficient, accountable and pro-poor use of public funds.
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