By Roy Moraleta I Published: June 17, 2020
Disappointed with what happened to 18 health workers of Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center (EVRMC) who got infected with COVID-19, Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez criticized health officials as “lax and complacent”.
There was no recourse but to indefinitely shut down operations of its emergency units in Magsaysay and Cabalawan facilities.
In a press briefing, Romualdez said both the regional health agency and the EVRMC management were flawed in their implementation of health and safety protocols right in the hospital.
In an online report released today, June 17, but dated June 16, the Department of Health Office in the region (DOH-8) cited 59 new cases of the coronavirus disease just for that day. This number included six doctors, seven nurses, two nursing attendants, two radio technicians, and a hospital driver.
The unfortunate development prompted the hospital management to suspend “effective immediately” and indefinitely its reception and acceptance of referrals.
DOH Must Resolve This!
For Romualdez, this incident is unacceptable. EVRMC, he said, is the only public tertiary hospital facility in the region. It is also the only health facility where the poor and the majority of the public can run to for free medical and health services.
Utterly upset, the mayor said this decision was made by the “problematic administration of DOH-8”.
“What will happen pag nag shut down ang Emergency Section and Operation Section? Paano na ang mahihirap? Where will they go? I am calling the attention of DOH to immediately resolve and settle this problem!”
Romualdez said he had been receiving calls on the EVRMC’s indefinite closure. They was prodding him, the mayor said, to do something about this.
While the city has its own health facility, the City Hospital located in Marasbaras, Romualdez admitted it could not cater to patients needing complicated medical attention. The city hospital does not have emergency medical care equipment.
In Their Own Backyard
Romualdez reiterated that Tacloban, like other local government units, is doing everything to contain and prevent the spread of COVID-19. It set up stringent measures and closed its borders for nearly two months and religiously follow health protocols despite the inconvenience in the face of impact on the economy.
“Why would this (closure) happen in our own backyard?” he asked.
There must be something wrong in the conduct of their daily operations in the face of the pandemic, the mayor said, when all the precautionary and safety measures in a hospital as vital as EVRMC is in proper place?”
“How could these health workers, who presumably are all aware of the necessary health protocols, and are supposedly fully equipped with necessary PPEs and other protective gears, get infected with the virus?” Romualdez said in disgust and disbelief.
“Ang laki ng support na binibigay ng national government sa kanila. Saan napupunta ang pundo nila?”
As of press time, the chief of hospital of EVRMC, as well as the DOH-8 regional director could not be reached for comments on issues raised by Romualdez.