Senator Christopher “Bong” Go on Monday called on healthcare workers from parts of the country with lower COVID-19 cases to be ready to assist in areas that have been overburdened with the rapidly rising cases of COVID-19.
“We need to augment our medical frontliners in critical areas where a significant number of them have been overburdened. Salamat din po sa mga Cebuano, sa mga nurses po sa Visayas who express willingness to be deployed in NCR (Plus) areas,” Go said in an interview.
“Patunay po ito na sa kabila ng pandemya, malakas pa rin po ang diwa ng bayanihan. May around 100 nurses po ang willing ma-deploy from Cebu. I appeal to health workers in other parts of the country to extend help to other critical areas. Kailangan natin magmalasakit sa ating kapwa Pilipino,” Go, who Chair the Senate Committee on Health, added.
Critical areas in the National Capital Region and nearby provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal are experiencing a significant rise in the number of COVID-19 cases. Hospitals and health facilities in the areas are experiencing difficulties coping with the crisis.
In response to this growing need, Go led the initiative to help augment medical personnel in NCR Plus areas. He turned to Presidential Assistant to the Visayas Secretary Michael Lloyd Dino to send willing frontliners from the Visayas to assist in the NCR Plus.
“We will start sending around 50 nurses on April 8. Then continuously every day until we reach a hundred,” Dino said as an update to Go.
Go, with the help of OPAV, is working together with regional Department of Health offices, local government units, hospitals with Malasakit Centers, and Project Balik Buhay (PBB) member-private hospitals to send volunteer medical frontliners to NCR Plus health facilities immediately.
Heeding Go’s call, the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu City is preparing to deploy twenty registered nurses and five medical doctors to the NCR Plus bubble as augmentation to the healthcare workforce in the said area. The personnel have extensive experience in caring for and clinically managing COVID-19 patients.
The positive response from the Visayas extends beyond human resources. Medical supplies, including life-saving medicines and high-flow nasal cannulas, are also being donated from the Visayas to Metro Manila. A convalescent plasma blood drive is also set to launch to augment the increasing needs in NCR.
The volunteer nurses and frontliners will receive an additional 20% premium on their basic salary for emergency hiring, based on Bayanihan 2 funds. The receiving hospitals will take care of their food, accommodation, and transportation after arriving in Metro Manila. Their transfer to NCR as well as necessary COVID-19 testing will be shouldered by the DOH.
Go appealed to health workers in other parts of the country with lower COVID-19 cases to also be ready to extend help in critical areas. Amid the challenges, Go encouraged every Filipino to embody the ‘bayanihan’ spirit, cooperate with the government, and be compassionate to each other to overcome the COVID-19 crisis.
“In these trying times, we need a holistic whole-of-nation approach to fully overcome this pandemic,” he said.
Meanwhile, the DOH Center for Health and Development in the Ilocos Region is also planning its first dispatch of volunteer nurses and doctors to assist fellow frontliners in NCR Plus.
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