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Health care workers’ benefits: ‘Singular’ plan brings multiple issues


Sputnik V vaccine

A nurse injects a senior citizen with the Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine on the Makati Coliseum. INQUIRER file photograph / GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE

MANILA, Philippines—Heroes.

This was how the federal government describes well being care staff who’re laying lives on the road on the frontline of the persevering with battle towards COVID-19.

But a bunch of nurses stated the remedy that well being care staff have been getting from the federal government was not one that’s match for heroes.

The group cited as instance the proposal of the Department of Health (DOH) to offer a “singular” package deal of advantages to well being staff on prime of their common pay.

READ: DOH wants ‘singular allowance’ for health workers

“Ill-conceived and heartless,” the group Filipino Nurses United (FNU) stated of the DOH proposal.

The DOH proposal would supply further advantages to well being care staff starting from P3,000 to P9,000.

Maristela Abenojar, who heads FNU, stated the proposal mirrored the governments’ “little regard for the selfless work and sacrifice exerted by health care workers” throughout the pandemic.

READ: Alliance of Health Workers rejects allowance system proposed by DOH

Last Friday (Sept. 24), Health Secretary Francisco Duque III offered the “One COVID-19 Allowance” proposal that may consolidate these units of advantages for well being care staff—life insurance coverage, particular threat allowance (SRA), energetic hazard responsibility pay (AHDP) and meal, lodging and transportation allowance (MAT).

current benefits

Graphic by Ed Lustan

FNU stated the proposal will “effectively” reduce the prevailing advantages of well being care staff, saying that the present package deal is price P16,000:

  • P5,000 – SRA (meant for private and non-private medical staff who immediately take care of COVID-19 sufferers)
  • P3,000 – AHDP (meant for medical, allied medical, and different staff in public establishments who’re concerned within the authorities response to mitigate the unfold of COVID-19 and to stop lack of lives.)
  • P8,000 – MAT (meant for private and non-private medical staff within the midst of the state of nationwide emergency)
doh singukar

Graphic by Ed Lustan

With the “One COVID-19 Allowance”, the advantages listed in Senate Bill No. 2371—the proposed COVID-19 Benefits for Healthcare Workers Act of 2021—can be consolidated in a single allowance with threat exposures as foundation:

  • P3,000 – low threat (meant for these performing administrative duties in personal areas of medical amenities)
  • P6,000 – reasonable threat (meant for these involved with the general public who will not be recognized or suspected to COVID-19 sufferers)
  • P9,000 – excessive threat (meant for these immediately taking care of COVID-19 sufferers and those that deal with their specimens)

According to Duque, the allowance is “awarded in full if the health care worker physically reports at least 14 days in a month.” If not, nonetheless, the allowance could be “prorated”.

No one’s protected

Nurse Dennick John Salvador stated the proposal was unfair as a result of “when someone enters a health care facility, the risk is immediately high. COVID-19 is everywhere.”

In December 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) referred to as for the safety of well being staff towards COVID-19 as a result of they “play a vital role in keeping others safe, relieving suffering and saving lives.”

A nurse for a authorities hospital for 12 years, Salvador informed INQUIRER.net that whereas he was assigned to a non-COVID ward, “there is still a possibility that patients I am interacting with will later test positive.”

Last Sept. 19, the DOH stated 24,895 medical staff within the Philippines have contracted the illness for the reason that starting of the well being disaster— 24,357 have recovered, 105 have died and 433 have been energetic circumstances.

highest risk

 Graphic by Ed Lustan

The information confirmed that there have been 9,056 circumstances and 29 deaths amongst nurses; 3,747 circumstances and 38 deaths amongst physicians; 1,859 circumstances and three deaths amongst nursing assistants and 1,406 circumstances and two deaths amongst medical technologists.

It additionally confirmed that there have been 1,060 circumstances and three deaths amongst midwives; 504 circumstances and no dying amongst radiologic technologists; 439 circumstances and one dying amongst pharmacists and 293 circumstances and one dying amongst caregivers.

lives on the line

Graphic by Ed Lustan

For non-medical staff, the info confirmed that there have been 765 circumstances and 5 deaths amongst barangay well being staff; 641 circumstances and 7 deaths amongst administrative staffers; 259 circumstances and two deaths amongst utility staff and 177 circumstances and no dying amongst social staff.

There have been additionally 144 circumstances and one dying amongst dietary staffers; 68 circumstances and no dying amongst safety guards; 57 circumstances and 0 dying amongst drivers and 46 circumstances and two deaths amongst different hospital workers.

Words not sufficient

Sen. Joel Villanueva, chair of the Senate labor committee, took the Senate flooring to precise help for a invoice that may make SRA and different advantages a everlasting a part of well being care staff’ compensation package deal.

READ: 2 things constant in PH COVID saga: Delayed pay, heavier burden for health care workers

“We can’t deny the immeasurable sacrifices made by our health care workers,” Villanueva stated in a speech.

The invoice endorsed by Villanueva was the one concerned within the DOH proposal for a “singular” package deal of advantages.

“We can shower our health care workers with words of affirmation, praises, admiration,” Villanueva stated. “But action speaks louder than words,” the senator added.

“With concrete action, we need to respond to the sacrifices of our health care workers,” Villanueva stated.

Last Friday (Sept. 24), Villanueva proposed to broaden the scope of the invoice to incorporate non-medical staff, saying that also they are in danger.

READ: Quimbo: Probe DOH’s reported failure to pay health workers’ benefits under Bayanihan 2

He stated it was additionally not sufficient for well being staff to get further advantages however that they get it on time. By institutionalizing the advantages, Villanueva stated “we are giving a more appropriate and dignified salute to our pandemic heroes.”

Lacking advantages

The DOH stated 567,727 well being care staff can be thought of as recipients of the One COVID-19 Allowance however FNU stated this was solely 31.5 % of 1.8 million medical staff within the Philippines.

FNU stated it might be an injustice for different well being care staff not listed as recipients to exclude them from the advantages. Even staff who will not be immediately performing COVID duties are getting sick, FNU stated.

It was estimated that not less than P50.4 billion was wanted to finance the DOH’s One COVID-19 Allowance plan for 567,727 medical staff, with 6 % of them at low threat, 7 % at reasonable threat and 67 % at excessive threat.

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM), nonetheless, gave solely a P19.68 billion funds for that objective to the DOH for 2022, removed from the P73.99 billion proposed by the DOH.

READ: Front-liners’ SRA, other benefits cut from 2022 budget

Duque had stated the reduce would have an effect on allocations for well being care employee advantages in 2022.

Already given

Last Sept. 5, days after the tip of the 10-day countdown set by well being care staff for the discharge of their advantages, the DOH stated P14.3 billion was already launched to well being care staff.

READ: Nurses start countdown to 10-day deadline for their benefits

The DOH stated from Sept. 15 to Dec. 19, 2020, P6.4 billion was disbursed for AHDP of 384,159 well being care staff and SRA for 306,314 medical staff. At least P991 million was additionally given for the MAT of 103,096 well being care staff.

For Dec. 20, 2020 to June 30, 2021, P6.9 billion was given for the SRA of 379,117 well being care staff, P16 million for the life insurance coverage of 32,281 medical staff.

It stated P570 million price of checks was launched for the compensation of 32,281 well being care staff who contracted COVID-19 and those that died of the illness.

On June 4, 2020, the DOH, Department of Labor and Employment and the DBM launched the implementing tips for the grant of compensation of private and non-private well being care staff.

READ: DOH seeks P49 billion for monthly allowance of at-risk health workers

The well being division stated those that “contract severe COVID-19 infection in the line of duty” will get P100,000 whereas those that “died while fighting COVID-19 infection” will get P1 million.

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