Tuesday, December 2, 2014

DOH told to put acts together; plan for Ebola

OZAMIZ CITY: An organization of doctors involved in the healthcare of rural and urban poor communities, has called on the health department “to undertake more useful and practical actions for Ebola preparation rather than token measures and misleading propaganda.”

The Community Medicine Practitioners and Advocates Association (Compass), in a press release sent to The Philippine Preview, said the act of DOH puts them always on the defensive.

It cited for example to that of the time during the escorting of the peacekeepers to Caballo Island, the recent visit of Asec. Janette Garin to Caballo and the personal protective equipment to be used.

The doctors group said the DOH has been putting instead the blame on the health workers, the people and the media as ranting and hyping too much on Ebola and creating hysteria.

Compass president, Dr. Joseph A Carabeo said in the statement that it is the DOH sowing the confusion because it is says one thing and does another regarding the Ebola quarantine. 

“The DOH itself has been amiss in disseminating the basic information on this disease to the general public, so that people can be more aware and become part of health preparation,” said Carabeo .

All together, Compass added that trained health personnel in selected medical institutions “feel short-changed on how to deal with an epidemic and were not consulted.”

Compass mentioned the new “political mileage” of the health department by initially contemplating to send a team of volunteer health care workers to West Africa amidst strong public opinion against it.

It said that Malacanang at present wants to send again a medical team to Ebola stricken countries, a move they said is “ironic considering our own national government budget for health is grossly inadequate for our health needs.”

Compass said the DOH’s share in total health expenditure has decreased to 18.5 percent two years ago, resulting in the persistent unacceptable level of out of pocket spending of more than 50 percent of the same year.

The government, it said, has not guaranteed the right of Filipinos to quality health services and has not launched a comprehensive health human resource master plan.

The minimum requirement of a health professional in every barangay is being by-passed, it continued, while health workers are not provided with rightful increase in wages and hazard pay mandated by the Magna Carta of Health Workers.

“DOH should not only accelerate the preparations to prevent the entry of Ebola into the country and prepare not only the hospital system but the local health units as well, it said. 

“The success of cutting the transmission of Ebola or any emerging infectious disease in our country depends on empowered communities and health workers who are consulted and informed, it ended.”