2 NGOs want Sona of Duterte to highlight issue of frontliners in medical profession

TWO nongovernment groups advocating for the rights of health workers in Cebu are asking President Rodrigo Duterte to include nurses and other medical frontliners in his priorities during his fifth State of the Nation Address (Sona) on Monday, July 27, 2020.

The Philippine Nurses Association (PNA) Cebu chapter said it hopes the government will be able to appreciate the nurses’ role in the health care system, “not just by applause but through applied basic incentives in salary and human rights advocacy.”

Dr. Joseph Stephen Descallar, PNA Cebu chapter president, said government leaders should encourage the youth to take up the nursing profession.

“That nurses will be included in policy development in any health programs or systems. We hope that the national government will listen to the cries of the nursing profession in the delivery of quality health care including nurses in private hospitals,” he said.

Descallar earlier said several nurses, especially in private hospitals in the cities of Cebu and Mandaue, resigned while some went Awol (absent without official leave) for various reasons amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

Meanwhile, the Health Alliance for Democracy (Head) Cebu chapter demands a pro-people Sona that tackles economic and health issues.

In an official statement released to the press, the group said President Duterte’s Sona needs to address the issues that directly affect the people, such as economic woes and the “worsening Covid-19 situation in the Philippines.”

“The people deserve to know the plans of the government in the impending economic recession. What about the Filipinos who lost their jobs and livelihoods? Does the government finally have strategies on how to flatten the curve? The President must not forget the soaring number of Covid-19 cases that put economic activity at a standstill,” reads a portion of their statement.

Head Cebu said Filipinos are already tired of hearing “deceptive narratives from the government and want real solutions, not excuses.”

It also wants to hear concrete solutions that are pro-people and not “pro-corporate or business-biased decisions that would only aggravate the economic woes and health crisis experienced by the Filipinos, especially the marginalized and vulnerable sectors.”

The Covid-19 pandemic is an urgent matter and the government must address its urgency through providing support to the degrading health system and to the exhausted and overburdened health sector, it said.

The health system, it said, is overwhelmed and breaking down, with nurses resigning and not renewing contracts.

Head Cebu also reiterated its demand for mass testing that covers suspect cases, close contacts of confirmed and probable cases, frontline health care workers, essential workers, people with underlying health conditions and communities with a high number of Covid-19 cases.

Doing this will not only flatten the curve but will also lead to a more accurate data collection and presentation, the group said. (WBS with PR)


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