Members of the group Alliance of Health Workers trooped to Malacañang on Friday in a Black Hearts’ Day Protest to push for an ultimate demand for the national minimum wage of P16,000 monthly and the protection for health workers and patients’ safety against CoronaVirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and other diseases.
They also called for a higher health budget at least 5 percent of the Gross Domestic Product as the World Health Organization recommended.
“Overworked and underpaid this is the perennial situation of health workers in our country. It worsens our public health situation due to understaffing and currently the ratio between the nurse’s and patients becomes worst especially now that a lot of our wards and out-patient department [OPD] was multiplied by three times compared to the previous years,” said Robert Mendoza, AHW National President, in a statement.
Mendoza said health personnel in public hospitals were direly lacking.
Mendoza said in the Jose R. Reyes Memorial Medical Center particularly in the male surgical ward, only one nurse is assigned to 60 to 80 patients with two nursing attendants on duty.
While in the National Center for Mental Health, one nurse is assigned to 250 to 280 patients, he said.
The epidemic of COVID-19 worsened the recent situation of health workers in San Lazaro Hospital. They are ordered to work 12 hours for seven days straight without any additional compensation and benefits, said Mendoza.
Moreover, health workers' salaries are pegged below minimum wage, as the Train Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act 3 aggravated the acceleration of prices of commodities and transportation, he said.
In the Salary Standardization Law of 2019 (SSL of 2019) the Salary Grade 1 or Utility Worker (SG1) who receives P11,068 last year has an increase of P483.00 per month or P16 per day which has a total of P11, 551 monthly salaries.