Save 20% off! Join our newsletter and get 20% off right away!
PH Senator Leila de Lima

PH Senator De Lima proposes to enlist student nurses volunteers for COVID-19 fight

Philippine Senator Lilia de Lima proposes to tap Philippine student nurses as volunteers in the fight against coronavirus epidemic.

De Lima said, “A 2014 report revealed that the Philippines “only has 3.5 doctors for every 10,000 population – a far cry from the ideal ratio of 1 to 1.5 doctors for every 1,000 population.” Medical professionals have long demanded the government to “take immediate, sustained, and dramatic steps to solve this crisis.” They said that infectious diseases and non-communicable diseases are killing thousands of Filipinos, but “most disturbingly, 47.6% of deaths among Filipinos are unattended by a medical doctor or allied health provider.”

Those were gentler times compared to what the country has to survive these days given the unabated spread of COVID-19, and yet those medical professionals have, at that time, already declared that the data amounts to an “indisputable proof of a healthcare workforce crisis”.

De Lima said, “Exacerbating the crisis is the fact that there has been, for a long time, a nursing shortage that has plagued the country – forcing hospitals to shut down rooms or even entire floors which has resulted in many patients being forced to wait long hours in emergency rooms or in hospital hallways – unchecked, unattended and exposed to even more risks.”

“The situation is getting worse. The no. of available health workers to attend to the sick and dying COVID-19 patients, and the PUI and PUM cases, is dwindling as many medical frontliners have to undergo self-quarantine themselves, having been exposed to COVID-19 patients. Some doctors already died. Indeed, the numbers of those infected are fast growing exponentially vis-à-vis the no. of qualified and competent nursing students who have successfully undertaken medical-related courses.”

There is an urgent need to review our current medical workforce capabilities and adjure other members of the medical field to assist the government in providing the medical needs of patients affected by this pandemic, without risking the welfare and health of the existing patients already admitted for other illnesses.”

I urge our health authorities, particularly the DOH, to conscript or avail of the services of nursing students as back-up manpower, in response to the looming shortage of medical frontliners.”

Nursing students, particularly those who are in their junior and senior years, may be asked to assist the current medical workforce, after a quick special training. Such calling out of qualified nursing students must be in accord with existing laws and circulars in order for these students to be properly protected while they are helping our medical professionals to protect the nation from the spread of the deadly virus.”

The DOH must issue the guidelines regarding the students’ limited practice, and ensure that the persons so conscripted are sufficiently compensated and protected, De Lima said.