To help maintain the high morale of its nurses and doctors as they lead the fight against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the Quezon City government ensures that their health and welfare are well taken cared of.
“We make sure na naalagaan silang mabuti and that they feel important, because they are really vital in this battle. We don't want them to be demoralized,” said Mayor Joy Belmonte.
“By putting a premium on their health and welfare, we are confident that they will put their best foot forward in the battle against the deadly virus,” she added.
Since March 2020, Belmonte approved the increase in salary of entry-level contractual doctors to P57,800, at par with the monthly wage of regular/plantilla doctors at the Quezon City General Hospital (QCGH).
Even before the implementation of the salary increase for entry-level nurses, the Quezon City government had granted the P32,065 wage per month for newly-hired and contractual nurses since May of this year.
According to QCGH Director Dr. Josephine Sabando, the increase in salary has averted the exodus of doctors and nurses, who earlier signified their intention to look for greener pastures elsewhere.
The QCGH also provides health workers with special risk pay and hazard pay as directed by the national government.
Aside from increasing their salaries and other benefits, the local government and the QCGH management have placed a system to protect the health of their frontliners.
Last March, the QCGH has activated its Incident Command System that constantly monitors the supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other logistical needs and oversees the work schedule and welfare of health workers.
The QCGH also enforces a “No PPE, No Duty” policy for the safety of its frontliners, Dr. Sabando emphasized.
She added that QCGH has been implementing a favorable “7-14-7” workshift since the start of ECQ.
Under the 7-14-7 shift, Dr. Sabando said health workers have a seven-day duty in the COVID-19 ward followed by a 14-day quarantine and seven-day shift in a non-COVID ward.
“On the fifth day of their 14-day quarantine, we conduct a routine swabbing RT-PCR test to guarantee that our health workers are not infected,” said Dr. Sabando.
In addition, health workers undergo regular debriefing sessions with the psychiatry department to help them cope with the stress and anxiety.
Since the start of ECQ there were 90 out of 884 employees who tested positive for COVID-19 among health workers in QCGH, including doctors, nurses and non-medical staff but all of them have recovered, and no mortality was recorded.
“They were brought to Hope facilities, complete with food, at bayad ang kanilang sahod kahit naka-quarantine,” said Dr. Sabando, adding that the QCGH also took care of their family.
Anticipating an increase in COVID-19 cases, the Quezon City government is in the process of hiring additional nurses to make sure that it has enough health care workers to deal with this pandemic so as not to be overwhelmed.