By Tara Yap
ILOILO CITY—The Department of Health (DOH) is sending rural doctors in Western Visayas region to Cebu City, the new hot spot of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the country.
DOH-6 Regional Director Dr. Marlyn Convocar confirmed the June 26 letter circulating online that 40 physicians, mostly assigned under the Doctors to the Barrios (DTTB) program, would be going to Cebu City to help treat COVID-19 patients.
“But the decision is not coming from me,” Convocar clarified to Manila Bulletin in a Saturday, June 27, phone interview.
DOH Undersecretary Abdullah Dumama Jr. directed the agency’s Western Visayas regional office to send teams to Cebu while the approval for the assignment was made by DOH Assistant Secretary for Visayas and Mindanao Roy Ferrer.
Based on Convocar’s letter, the doctors will be sent in four batches to Cebu beginning June 30.
Each of the four teams of doctors will be assigned for a two-week period. When they get back to Western Visayas, they will undergo mandatory quarantine.
Convocar’s letter only stated the names of the doctors, but not where they are assigned in Western Visayas, a region comprised of Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Guimaras, Iloilo, and Negros Occidental provinces, as well as the highly urbanized cities of Iloilo and Bacolod.
Aside from the physicians assigned under the DTTB program, others doctors undergoing post-residency deployment program (PDDP) will be sent to Cebu City.
Meanwhile, several physicians have expressed dismay on social media over DOH’s decision to pull out government doctors assigned in far-flung areas, where local communities also need medical services as hospitals are geographically inaccessible.