Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the DOH intends to shorten the working hours of healthcare workers on the recommendation of health workers who visited the country.
Walter Bollozos, file
DOH eyes shorter work hours for health workers
Mayen Jaymalin (The Philippine Star) - April 24, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) is eyeing shorter working hours for healthcare workers as part of the measures to curb the rising prevalence of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) among doctors, nurses and other frontliners in the fight against the pandemic.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the DOH intends to shorten the working hours of healthcare workers on the recommendation of health workers who visited the country.

“Some of our health workers are on duty for 24 hours and hope to be able to shorten their shifting so they could have enough rest and lessen their exposure and cut the possible transmission in hospitals,” Vergeire said. 

Healthcare workers are at high risk of acquiring the infection since they are the ones taking care of the COVID patients, but Vergeire said measures are being undertaken to address the problem.

“For healthcare workers that (risk) is given. The risk that they take is really high. Even in other countries a certain percentage of their COVID affected population are really healthcare workers,” Vergeire noted.

“But in the long run, we have observed that it is not really (lack of) PPEs, but patients were not able to give their complete medical history,” she pointed out.

The DOH, she said, has long come out with a protocol on proper use of PPEs and expects health workers to strictly abide by it.

“I don’t think any doctor really would treat a patient without PPE at all unless the patient lied on his medical history,” Vergeire said.

She also belied yesterday allegations that the shortage of PPEs) led to the high number of COVID cases among health workers in the country.

Vergeire stressed that the DOH has addressed the problem of PPE shortage at the onset of the COVID pandemic.

She explained that many medical workers were exposed to the infection because patients failed to disclose their travel history or previous exposure to the virus.

The World Health Organization has considered the trend of COVID infection in the country as worrisome, considering that health workers account for 13 percent of total cases. – With Alexis Romero, Rainier Allan Ronda, Cecille Suerte Felipe

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