RATHER than token measures and misleading propaganda that put its officials on the defensive, the Department of Health (DOH) should undertake more useful and practical actions to prevent the spread of the deadly Ebola virus, a group of doctors said on Tuesday.
At the same time, the Community Medicine Practitioners and Advocates Association (Compass), assailed the Health department for putting the blame on health workers, the people and the media.
It said “ranting and hyping” by the DOH on Ebola only creates “hysteria” and that it also only sows confusion for saying one thing and doing another regarding Ebola quarantine measures.
Dr. Joseph Carabeo, Compass president, said the DOH itself has been amiss in disseminating basic information on the disease to the public to enable them to be more aware and become part of preparations against the virus.
“Health personnel in select medical institutions while being given training on how to deal with an epidemic feel shortchanged and are not consulted,” Carabeo said in a statement.
According to him, Compass is also appalled at the tokenism for political mileage of the DOH, first in initially mulling to send a team of health care workers as volunteers to West Africa and then giving $1 million to the United Nations for Ebola.
“Just recently, there was a Malacanang statement stating again the possibility of sending a medical team because of a breakdown in the health care system of Ebola-stricken countries,” Carabeo said.
“This is ironic considering our own national government budget for health is grossly inadequate for our health needs. In spite of more than four years of ‘Kalusugan Pangkalahatan,’ the share of [both DOH and local government]in our country’s total health expenditure has even decreased from 20.2 percent in 2011 to 18.5 percent in 2012, resulting in the persistent unacceptable level of out-of-pocket spending of 57.6 percent in 2012,” he added, citing the latest National Health Accounts data.
The doctors’ group accused the government of not ensuring the people their constitutional right to quality health services, not implementing a comprehensive health human resource master plan and ensure even the minimum requirement of having a health professional in every barangay (village).
“The $1 Million donation is a slap against our very own health workers who cannot even be provided with rightful increase in wages and hazard pay as mandated by the Magna Carta of Health Workers,” Carabeo said.