By Deighton Acuin


The Filipino Nurses United (FNU) on Saturday called on Health Secretary Francisco Duque III to step down from his post as the country is facing another steep increase of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infections.

The FNU lamented the increasing number of healthcare workers being afflicted with the disease, citing data from the Department of Health (DOH) of 15,188 infected healthcare workers, 14,762 recoveries, and 82 mortalities.

“We hope that our leadership be replaced by likewise a more competent Secretary of Health. Secretary Duque must resign for the betterment of our health.

The surge of COVID-19 cases among the general population especially in NCR (National Capital Region) in recent days is worrisome with reported daily cases not lower that 3,000 up to yesterday with the all-time high record of more than 7,103 new COVID-19 cases.

Our nurses, doctors and other health workers have been suffering from the burden of this uncontrolled pandemic of more than a year, with no end and improvement in sight.

Currently, health care facilities are at 60 to 80 percent full capacity and the nurses are exhausted and demoralized with continuous work at the same time, heightened exposure to the fatal COVID-19 including the exponentially transmissible variants.

“Undoubtedly, with the increasing COVID-19 cases of infection and deaths among health workers, nurses, doctors and co-health workers are victims themselves of a government COVID-19 response that is generally inefficient and mismanaged,” the FNU said In a statement.

Moreover, the FNU said the healthcare workers were already exhausted physically and mentally.

The group further said the government should have a “more adequate and scientific coronavirus response.”

“Nurses in government and private hospitals handle patients and assume workload that have stretched their bodies, brains, and emotions to the limits. Health workers work for hours more than the law allows and has therefore led to a neglect of their work-life balance.

We refuse to be sacrificial lambs to this pandemic. We are humans and we need to be cared for. We should be saved from this national calamity and public health disaster.

Majority of the Filipinos have been suffering from this raging pandemic but those in the frontline have felt the most heart-wrenching agony of witnessing deaths, illnesses and suffering of our people caused by the inadequacies of this health care system.

The uniformed men and personnel must have proven their capacities but should step aside immediately in order to rescue and save our people and our health workers.

They should be replaced by medical experts who are more competent in terms of knowledge and skills in medicine and public health disaster, with the heart for caring and compassion for our health workers and public in general,” the FNU added.

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