DOH says deployment of more doctors to Cebu City voluntary for now
MANILA, Philippines – After drawing criticism, the Department of Health (DOH) said the deployment of additional doctors who will aid in Cebu City's response to the coronavirus outbreak will be done on a voluntary basis for now.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire told reporters in a press conference on Tuesday, June 30, that there are several issues such as the health of some doctors who are pregnant and availability of resources that need to be addressed.
The issues came up during further dialogue with physicians who were supposed to be assigned to Cebu.
"As the turn of the events these past days, marami pang issues lumabas (there were a lot of issues raised) so it was decided that it's just going to be voluntary for now," Vergeire said.
The doctors were supposed to be sent in 4 batches of 10, for two weeks at a time, followed by another 14-day quarantine period.
The directive followed requests from Cebu City hospitals who asked the DOH to send more doctors to help in treating patients. Observations on the dwindling capacity of the city's health system were also reported by National Task Force on COVID-19 chief implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr and Cebu overseer Secretary Roy Cimatu.
But some rural health doctors decried the DOH order, saying they were not consulted on their reassignments. They appealed to the health department to reconsider the move, warning it could compromise health in far-flung areas.
Now, following a dialogue with concerned doctors, the DOH has suspended its order, saying that doctors willing to go to Cebu City will be among the first to be deployed for now.
Vergeire said the DOH is still finalizing the number of doctors who will go to Cebu City. Those deployed will help in the triaging of patients as well as in hospitals' outpatient departments.
How's the situation in Cebu City? Cebu City has seen a recent spike in cases, leading experts to describe the city as the second battleground in the country's fight against the coronavirus.
There were 353 new cases confirmed in Cebu City on Tuesday, bringing the total to 5,494, according to the Cebu City Health Department. Of the total, 169 died while 2,723 have recovered.
Cebu City is currently the only area in the country remaining under enhanced community quarantine, the strictest form of quarantine. – Rappler.com