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RO9 WorldHealthWorkerWeekA year ago, COVID-19 was declared as a global pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO). On March 8, 2020, President Rodrigo Duterte declared a State of Public Health Emergency due to COVID-19. The Intrahealth International stated that the COVID-19 pandemic has shown a spotlight on the tireless efforts frontline health workers make to keep their communities—and the world—safe and healthy.

The WHO defines Health Workers as the people whose job is to protect and improve the health of their communities. These are doctors, nurses, midwives, medical technologists, nutritionist-dietitians, pharmacists, respiratory technologists and even medical waste handlers. Together these health workers, in all their diversity, make up the global health workforce.

According to Bobby Joseph et al., there are approximately 59 million healthcare workers worldwide. Based on the 2015 Census of Population, there are nearly half a million (488,800) health professionals in the Philippines. Among all health professionals in the country, the majority are nurses (59%), about 1 in 9 is a medical doctor (12%) and 1 in 10 are midwives (11%).

However, the amount of healthcare workers is not enough to cater people who are in need of health care services especially during global emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic. They also face a high workload, stress and profound psychological distress. 

Healthcare industry is one of the most hazardous environments to work in. Employees in this industry are constantly exposed to a complex variety of health and safety hazards in the course of their work, yet, they continue to provide services to those in need without any hesitation. So, how can we contribute to at least minimize the burden of our health workers?

For the time being, we can help reduce the workload of our health workers by simply following the minimum health protocols disseminated by the Department of Health. These are the regular wearing of face masks and face shields, maintaining and observing social/physical distancing, frequent handwashing, and limiting going out in public or avoiding crowded places if necessary.  Up until now, the number of COVID-19 cases is increasing rapidly. This is extremely alarming knowing that the capacity of hospitals are insufficient to treat patients with mild to severe symptoms. This also adds up to the workload of our healthcare workers. By strictly following minimum health protocols, we can reduce the caseload of our country and health workers. Being a healthcare worker can be a thankless job. We could also express our gratitude to healthcare workers by simply thanking them.

“A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.” – Joseph Campbell. Kudos to all health workers!.. Our modern day heroes.

 

PNC-ZDS Marie Claire A. Gaas

 

References:

  • Health worker

https://www.who.int/whr/2006/06_chap1_en.pdf

  • World Health Worker Week

https://www.frontlinehealthworkers.org/world-health-worker-week

  • The health of the healthcare workers

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5299814/ by Bobby Joseph and Merlyn Joseph

  • Human Resource for Health in the Time of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Does the Philippines Have Enough?

https://www.uppi.upd.edu.ph/research/covid-19/rb8#:~:text=Based%20on%20the%202015%20Census,health%20professionals%20in%20the%20Philippines.&text=Among%20all%20health%20professionals%20in,11%25)%20(Figure%201).