DOH: More checks for health workers sick, died from COVID-19 released
Medical workers screen patients for possible COVID-19 before admission at the National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI) in Quezon City on April 18, 2020.
The STAR/Miguel de Guzman

DOH: More checks for health workers sick, died from COVID-19 released

(Philstar.com) - November 29, 2020 - 11:09am

MANILA, Philippines — The health department has reported that more Filipino medical workers infected with the coronavirus have received their compensation nearly nine months since the outbreak of the virus in the country.

Figures from the agency's situation report on November 27 showed 12,358 medical workers to have contracted the COVID-19, of which, 12,043 have already recovered.

The number of deaths among those battling the ongoing health crisis has also reached 76, highlighting the risks that hospital personnel face amid the pandemic.

Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire in a Laging Handa briefing on Saturday said they have released some 53 checks for those with severe COVID-19 out of some 233 active cases.

Health workers infected with the virus are due to receive a P100,000 assistance from government, with families of those dying from COVID-19 bound to receive P1 million in compensation. 

Vergeire added that 55 more checks were given to families of workers who died from the COVID-19, apart from the other cases and deaths still being validated.

"We are now evaluation 79 cases of severe cases for healthcare workers and 20 more deaths na ine-evaluation natin kung totoo ba talaga na [COVID-19] ang kanilang sakit o pagkamatay," she said. 

(We are evaluating 79 severe cases and 20 more deaths to determine if they are sick with or died from COVID-19.)

The issue of delayed compensation for health workers first came up in June, when it was revealed in a Senate hearing that the agency had yet to give out the checks for medical workers, four months at that time since the COVID-19 crisis began.

Recently, a Senate budget deliberation for the DOH's funding in 2021 also shed light that over 16,000 health workers to date remain uncompensated with their daily hazard pay as the department admitted that there were no more funds under the Bayanihan To Heal As One Act.

It had led the group Filipino Nurses United to call out government's "gross neglect" to provide just compensation for medical frontliners, calling it a "deception to health workers who have already rendered work and placed their lives at risk."

"The DOH exacerbates the economic burden of nurses for making them work as frontline health workers in COVID-19 pandemic with delayed salaries, absence of COVID-duty hazard pay and special risk allowance under the emergency hiring program," said Maristela Abenojar, FNU's national president.

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto has urged government to end the year with no more unpaid benefits to the thousands of medical personnel at the frontlines of dealing with the pandemic that has infected over 427,000 and killed more than 8,300 in the country. — Christian Deiparine

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