The Department of Health (DOH) is set to redeploy doctors serving under the Doctors to the Barrios (DTTB) program and other healthcare workers in Cebu City to help curb the increasing number of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) infections there.
In a statement, the DOH said Health Secretary Francisco Duque III issued a directive to deploy more doctors after it has been observed that the Cebu City healthcare system is “overwhelmed with patient load at the moment”.
“The DTTBs will be temporarily assigned to Cebu City to provide critical relief as part of the national response to the emergency situation. This temporary assignment is not new as DTTBs have been temporarily redeployed in the past under similar emergency situations such as the Marawi siege and the Super Typhoon Yolanda response,” the DOH statement read.
Municipalities where the doctors currently serve will not be left without medical workers since those that are up for redeployment are rural health physicians and not municipal health officers.
The doctors will undergo a pre-deployment orientation, provided roundtrip transportation, statutory allowances, actual hazard duty pay, accommodations, and other incidental expenses during their deployment period in Cebu City, including post-deployment quarantine.
“As the country remains in a state of public health emergency due to Covid-19, and cases reaching a critical point in Cebu City, the department is grateful to all who heeded the call of duty during these daunting times,” the DOH said.
Healthcare workers from the Armed Forces of the Philippines were among the first to respond to the need to provide healthcare services in Cebu.
The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases placed Cebu City anew under enhanced community quarantine due to the widespread community transmission in majority of its barangays, as well as the consistent case doubling time of less than seven days and the significant increase in critical care utilization against critical care capacity.
The DTTB was created in 1993 to address the lack of doctors practicing in rural communities.
Under the program, doctors have been deployed to various geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas nationwide to work in primary care and public health.
Source: Philippines News Agency