By Mario Casayuran
Senator Richard J. Gordon today called on the government to conduct a massive Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing for healthcare workers, both in public and private hospitals and other healthcare institutions, to make sure they are COVID-19 free.
“We need to protect our healthcare workers and make sure that they are healthy and virus-free while they take care of our people,’’ Gordon, chairman of the Philippine Red Cross (PRC), said.
‘’Ang mga frontliners natin, iyong mga humaharap sa pasyente, dapat ma-test sila. Hangga’t sila ay hindi nate-test at lagi silang exposed sa mga pasyente, delikado iyan kaya dapat gawin nating mandatory ang pagpapa-test sa kanila,” he added. (Our frontliners who physically face their patients should be tested. Tests should be mandatory as our frontliners are exposed daily to their patients.)
Gordon made the appeal after data of the Department of Health (DOH) showed that only 2,700 of the 25,000 public healthcare workers in the National Capital Region (NCR) have been tested so far.
During the plenary debate for Senate Bill 1564, or the “Bayanihan to Recover as One Act,’’ Gordon proposed to include the “implementation of mandatory COVID-19 testing of public and private health workers every 15 days to ensure their protection.”
“Hindi basta-basta naso-solve ang problemang ito sa COVID. Biglang lalabas ulit iyan kung hindi tayo mag-iingat kaya pinagpipilitan nating ma-test ang mga frontliners, ang mga healthcare workers natin para hindi sila makapanghawa at hindi rin sila madisgrasya,” he said. (The COVID-19 problem could not be solved easily. COVID-19 could surface anytime if we are not careful. That is why we are pressing for the testing of our frontliners, our health care workers so that they could not infect others and they themselves would not be put at risk.)
Gordon added that the government should shoulder the expenses for the massive testing of health workers.
During the period of amendments for Senate Bill1418, or the ‘Bayanihan to Heal as One Act’ last March, it was also Gordon who proposed to provide additional compensation to Filipino health workers severely hit by COVID-19.
Just recently, Gordon called on the DOH to immediately provide the necessary assistance for the families of healthcare workers who died of the virus.