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An appeal to Filipino health workers

 

edt editorial

OVER the years, many Filipino professionals as well as ordinary workers have sought employment in other countries for lack of opportunities in their own country.

Many of them have been construction workers and housemaids with no special training needed, as well as seamen, the Philippines being known historically as a nation of seafarers. But a considerable number have been doctors and nurses, engineers and architects, information technology (IT) experts, management men, agriculturists, teachers, and writers.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic which hit the economies of all nations around the world, many of these workers – whom we officially call Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) – have started to come home. But one group of workers is now in specially high demand around the world because of COVID-19 – health workers.

The whole world is in need of doctors, nurses, medical technologists, and other health workers to care for the hundreds of thousands of COVID-19 victims in so many nations which are now experiencing a second wave of infections and deaths.

Last week, a spokesman of the Philippine General Hospital appealed to the nation’s health workers, especially doctors, planning to leave for jobs abroad. “We really need doctors. We hope that you stay at least for the next one or two years. We are hoping that this will be over soon, but for now, we need you,” the spokesman said.

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Those who already have contracts and other commitments have to respect these agreements, but those who are now just looking into the prospects of employment abroad might consider the appeal. But the government will have to do its part – it must provide better salaries to health workers than what they are now getting.

The Department of Health (DOH) has already signed up 9,692 health workers for its hospitals and other treatment and emergency facilities it has set up all over the country. In its latest update, the DOH said it has already hired 9,692 health workers – 38.7 percent for DOH hospitals, 16.1 percent for diagnostic facilities, 15.5 percent for temporary treatment and monitoring facilities, 12.7 percent in local government hospitals, and the rest in COVID-19 referral facilities, epidemiology and surveillance units, private health facilities, Mega-Ligtas COVID-19 centers, and other newly established healthcare units.

The increased pay may not match the prevailing rates abroad, but many Filipino health workers see the value of staying with their families in these critical times. And they will respond to the appeal to their nationalism, and help their fellow Filipinos in this critical time in our nation’s life.

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