DOH defends decision to deploy Doctors to the Barrios in Cebu City
CEBU CITY, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) defended its decision to reassign several physicians under the Doctors to the Barrios (DTTB) program.
DOH, in an official statement issued on Monday, June 29, 2020, assured the public that the new directives will not leave any town or municipality without a doctor.
“The redeployed doctors are Rural Health Physicians, not Municipal Health Officers, which means that their respective municipalities will not be left doctorless during their assignment and health care services will continue,” DOH stated.
The country’s health department also said selected doctors bound for Cebu City will undergo a “pre-deployment orientation.”
“DTTBs will be provided roundtrip transportation, statutory allowances, actual hazard duty pay, accommodations, and other incidental expenses during their deployment period in Cebu City, including post-deployment quarantine,” said DOH.
Last Sunday, June 28, DTTB Batches 36-ALAB and 37-MANDALA protested what they called an abrupt decision of DOH to pull out some of their doctors serving in Western Visayas and Central Visayas towns in an effort to support the understaffed hospitals in Cebu City.
Among the reasons DTTB cited was the lack of proper consultation and communication.
They also pointed out that removing doctors from rural areas would be risky considering that the Balik Probinsya Program that sends Locally Stranded Individuals from metropolitan areas to provinces is still ongoing.
Around 30 to 40 doctors will be sent by DOH to help existing healthcare workers in Cebu City in accommodating patients of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Cebu City is currently under an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ). The national government’s anti-coronavirus task force decided to reimpose the strictest form of community quarantine here not only due to high case doubling rate of COVID-19 but also due to the surge of patients needing hospital care. /bmjo
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