Gov’t faces bottlenecks in hiring health workers to fight COVID-19

Published June 22, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Genalyn Kabiling

The government is facing bottlenecks in the hiring of health workers to help in efforts to contain the coronavirus outbreak.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte  (ACE MORANDANTE/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO/ MANILA BULLETIN)
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte
(ACE MORANDANTE/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO/ MANILA BULLETIN)

In his latest weekly report to Congress, President Duterte said the Department of Health (DOH) has identified “certain bottlenecks” for hiring health personnel, including “low update/no takers” for some positions such as physicians.

As of June 13, 3,807 health workers have been hired out of the 9,297 slots approved for 270 facilities such as hospitals and quarantine centers.

According to the President, the health department reported that some applicants have private practice that they cannot compromise.

Some applicants have also backed out for several reasons including distance of the facility from their residence, lack of transportation and accommodation, concerns from family on possible infection, and poor perception on biosafety, or lack of confidence in infection control protocols.

Another bottleneck in hiring health workers is the delay in the screening due to requirement of some reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing facilities for applicants.

Duterte said the requirement for health workers in hospitals, treatment and monitoring facilities and laboratories is estimated at 16,460.

As of June 13, around 1,289 nurses have been redeployed to DOH and local government unit (LGU) hospitals handing COVID-19 cases.

He said the augmentation of health personnel has reached 5,096 granted on a per request basis to ensure “rational provision. So far, 100 percent of facility requests have been evaluated and with corresponding approved slots for health personnel.

To hasten the emergency hiring of health workers by facilities, the President said the evaluation of facility requests have been decentralized to the Centers for Health Development (CHDs) for hospitals and other health facilities.

Special risk allowance for DOH personnel

As of June 18, the President said the government has distributed P246.6 million for the special risk allowance to DOH personnel. The beneficiaries include 25,692 regular employees and 6,241 job order/contract of service personnel in 36 DOH facilities.

He said those with insufficient funds have been advised to send a budget request to the DOH central office, which will be submitted to the Department of Budget and Management for approval.

 
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