The Department of Health (DOH) has been able to hire 7,135 or 73 percent of the 9,725 required number of additional health workers to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said Friday.
The workers will be deployed in 342 health care facilities, she added.
Vergeire’s announcement was made four days before the expected lifting of the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) in areas where there are a high number of COVID-19 cases such as Metro Manila, Calabarzon, and Bulacan province.
MECQ was implemented after medical frontliners had asked for Metro Manila to return to an ECQ for two weeks to give them time to rest and "recalibrate strategies" against the disease.
Aside from the new hires, Vergeire said the DOH has deployed 378 post-residency physicians and 1,378 nurses in DOH and local government hospitals handling COVID-10 cases; 8,909 nurses in communities for contact tracing; and 3,893 public health associates to help in contact tracing and surveillance.
Vergeire, however, said that such new hires and deployment can still be improved by providing increased benefits for them under the proposed Bayanihan 2 law.
These include a monthly P10,000 special risk allowance and hazard pay, she said.
The House and the Senate are now reconciling their versions of the proposed Bayanihan 2 law.