DOH urged to rethink decision on deploying ‘doctors to the barrios’ to Cebu City

Published June 28, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Analou De Vera

Physicians under the government’s Doctors to the Barrios (DTTB) program urged the Department of Health (DOH) to “rethink” its decision to deploy some of its members to Cebu City.

The doctors said that they demand an “inclusive dialogue” with the DOH and other stakeholders involved.

“We hope that DOH will consider this before it is too late, before the apathy and lack of accountability by its leadership completely smother the flames of passion and service of an entire generation of doctors,” the physicians said in a statement on Sunday, June 28.

The doctors said that they “strongly condemn” the directive of the DOH, saying that the concerned physicians “were not suitably informed through writing” about their deployment to Cebu City; and that “no proper consultation with the stakeholders was done prior to this directive.”

“Detailed guidelines and protocols to protect the doctors in this temporary reassignment are not provided, and it contradicts the thrust of the DTTB program,” the doctors furthered.

They also emphasized that the directive would also affect the communities that they are currently serving.

They noted that the program was created “primarily to address the need for doctors in the rural communities, especially in geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas (GIDAs).”

“Removing a DTTB from a municipality, albeit temporarily, will deprive healthcare to thousands of Filipinos in already marginalized communities. If we further clip the already short human resources for health in GIDAs, we perpetuate the existing inequities in access to healthcare that the DTTB program wishes to address,” the physicians said.

“Let us not allow the disadvantaged communities to suffer from the loss of their rural health physicians at a time when they are needed the most,” they added.

To note, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that the deployment of DTTBs to Cebu City was ordered following reports that the area’s “healthcare system is overwhelmed with patient load at the moment.” She said that 40 DTTBs are to be deployed in Cebu City.