Davao Region’s frontline health workers “highly motivated” in fight vs Covid-19

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 26 March) – Health workers in Davao Region’s two government hospitals are “highly motivated” to put their best foot forward in the battle against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) despite the Herculean task of saving the growing number of infected patients.

“For my health workers, they are all into this. They know what the responsibility is. This is what their career is all about, and this is the best time to serve the country,” Dr. Leopoldo Vega, chief of hospital of the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) in Davao City said.

PH 130, has recovered from COVID-19 and has been discharged from the Davao Regional Medical Center in Tagum City. MindaNews photo by GREGORIO BUENO

The SPMC and the Davao Regional Medical Center (DRMC) in Tagum City are the only government tertiary hospitals designated to treat Covid-19 cases, including persons under investigation (PUIs) who manifest “moderate” to “severe” signs and symptoms of the infection.

Vega said they ensure that the workers, around 300 of them in the frontline, are well taken care of by providing them the much-needed support, including protective gears, transportation and food to keep their spirits up and to “be able to do this battle and win this fight against the virus.”

The hospital management also takes care of their shelters where the frontliners could rest while undergoing the 14-day quarantine protocol after their “perpetual duty” in the hospital before returning home safe, he said.

Support from local government, hotels and inns and other well-meaning individuals also came pouring in for the frontliners, he added.

“I think that the majority of the frontliners in SPMC, they are ‘highly motivated’ because primarily that’s the service that they have been working for, and that‘s the career that they have… That’s the feeling that I have and that’s the feeling also of the majority of the frontliners that we have,” he said.

Vega said the SPMC would procure personal protective equipment (PPE) to ensure a steady supply, acknowledging the concern of most frontliners for an extra layer of protection from contamination while attending to the infected patients.

He said the hospital is currently looking for PPE suppliers, reassuring their workers “that they are given the support that they need especially with the desired kind of protection so that they do not get contaminated.”

“The contamination for the virus actually breaks in if you break the protocol in terms of PPE. If you are able to give the frontliners a very strong support in terms of resources specifically of PPEs and the other needs of the patients, then they see that this is like going to war, if you have full armaments then we are really ready to do the battle, in this fight,” he said.

Dr. Maridee Sebumpan, member of the Emerging and Re-Emerging Infectious Disease Team of the DRMC, echoed similar sentiments in terms of depleted hospital resources but nonetheless assured their health workers, and even those assigned to housekeeping tasks, of strong management support.

We have PPEs now but we do not know how long we can handle this because every day, we cannot reuse the PPEs that we have. The N95 (mask) is important because we are using that for our frontliners,” she said.

“Our administration is very supportive. We have the same sentiments with SPMC (in terms of) the suppliers. We have a lot of support also from other institutions. They give donations, even food and water for frontliners,” she added.

The DRMC has activated a team of around 50 frontliners, comprising doctors, nurses and housekeeping personnel, she said.

“We have fully functional second line and third line, around 30 nurses, deployed for hostel and main (facility), and we have eight internists. Around 50 together with the housekeeping,” she said.

DOH-Davao confirmed last Monday three new Covid-19 cases in the region, which brought to six the total number of cases here. One of them is a 21-year old Filipina from Pantukan, Davao de Oro, the first patient in the region and identified as PH130, who was discharged on March 23.

The three new cases included a 50-year old male patient, identified as PH444 who has travel history to Manila, Palawan and Cebu. He is confined at the DRMC.

The other two patients, 28-year old and 32-year old male patients, identified as PH442 and PH443, respectively, are confined at the SPMC. Both have travel history to Manila.

The region’s second and third Covid-19 cases, identified as PH262 and PH263 were reported on March 21. On the following day, they were transferred from “strict home quarantine” to an isolation facility at the SPMC. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)