DOH eyes extending contract of healthcare workers hired for COVID-19 response

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 6) — The Department of Health is eyeing to extend for three months the contract of healthcare workers hired for the country’s COVID-19 response, an official said Wednesday.

At present, the contract of medical workers under the DOH’s emergency hiring of health personnel is only valid for three months.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the DOH is also fast-tracking the recruitment of health service providers for priority areas namely Metro Manila, Calabarzon, Central Luzon, and Cebu.

“We have been recomputing budget requirements to support these initiatives,” Vergeire told an online forum.

Over the weekend, several medical societies asked the government to address "healthcare workforce deficiency," and their other concerns in the government's strategies to combat COVID-19. They urged President Rodrigo Duterte to reimpose the strict enhanced community quarantine in Mega Manila from August 1 to August 15 to come up with refined pandemic control strategies and allow the overwhelmed healthcare system to recover.

Duterte made a compromise by placing Metro Manila, Laguna, Cavite, Rizal, and Bulacan back to modified ECQ from August 4 to 18.

As of August 3, the DOH recruited 21,078 frontline workers including physicians, nurses, contact tracers, swabbing personnel and public health associates, Vergeire said.

She added the department has released P1.2 billion to government-run health facilities handling COVID-19 patients as well as accredited COVID-19 laboratories to compensate frontline healthcare workers.