PH ‘has lost’ its battle against COVID, says hospital association president

Health Secretary Francisco Duque in a hospital visit. <i data-lazy-src=

The country has lost its fight against the pandemic, the president of the Philippine Hospital Association said today, as more hospitals refuse to take in COVID-19 patients.

“What we fear has happened. Our hospitals are overrun and overwhelmed,” Dr. Jaime Almora said in English and Filipino in an interview with the news program Unang Balita.  

“We are not losing [against COVID]. We have lost already,” he added.

Almora said this after reports emerged yesterday that singer Claire dela Fuente, who tested positive for COVID, died inside a tent while waiting to be admitted into a hospital. Another elderly patient, whose name was not disclosed, also died of COVID while he was outside an emergency room after several hospitals refused to admit him.

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“When a hospital says that it is full they no longer have the capability, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t have the capacity. If you’re talking about beds, there are beds available. What is missing are people who will take care of the patient,” Almora said.

Almora explained that the country is facing a serious dearth of nurses due to the closure of some nursing schools that did not perform well in the country’s licensure exams. Another factor is the higher salary offered by government institutions, which attracted nurses to work for state-owned hospitals, the police, the Bureau of Fire Protection, and the military. The implementation of the K to 12 curricula also meant that for a year, no one graduated from nursing schools.

He added that some nurses have also died of COVID-19, leading to the shortage.

“All of these [factors] conspired for private hospitals to lose their nurses,” he said.

He appealed to the government to allow private hospitals to borrow their nurses.

“In a war, they’re in the firing line and they need reinforcement. We are asking the government’s various agencies who employed a lot of nurses who are doing non-nursing jobs to provide them to us as reinforcement,” he said.

He requested COVID patients who are suffering from mild cases to just stay at home and consult doctors over the phone.

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At present, the Philippines has the highest number of active COVID cases in Southeast Asia at 124,680. At least 13,191 people have died from the disease. The dire situation has led some people to believe that the country will end up like Brazil, where at least 318,000 people have died.

Almora supports the extension of the enhanced community quarantine, which has been imposed in the Greater Manila Area and is supposed to end on April 4, Easter.

“There’s no question. That’s the solution if you don’t want this to continue,” he said.



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