Imee: Recruitment For Medical Reserve Corps Urgent

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Senator Imee Marcos stressed that recruitment for a medical reserve corps must begin soon before health care workers reach their breaking point, citing the rising cases of COVID-19 infection outside Metro Manila, particularly Cebu and southern Mindanao.

Marcos added that mutations of the virus and the emergence of possible epidemics of dengue and leptospirosis with the onset of the rainy season may complicate the fight against COVID-19.

“Let’s not wait for future epidemics and pandemics to push our highly stressed medical frontliners to their human limits. Their safety is our safety too,” Marcos said.

Marcos expressed unease about the Department of Health’s lack of transparent data on whether hospitals were reaching maximum capacity and if testing centers had enough qualified personnel to attain the goal of testing 50,000 people per day by the end of June.

“We can’t afford this prolonged guessing game about whether the country is truly flattening the curve. We missed the target to increase testing capacity to 30,000 people per day by the end of May and have been stuck at about 10,000 to 15,000 daily,” Marcos said.

To boost the country’s preparedness for health emergencies, Marcos has proposed to create a medical reserve corps through Senate Bill 1592.

Volunteer health care providers, as individuals or institutions, will compose the medical reserve corps that the government can train and call to duty, providing proper compensation, when health emergencies occur.

The Marcos bill calls for a database of recruits that will need to be updated quarterly by the Department of Health, Professional Regulatory Commission and the Commission on Higher Education.

“Coordination with local government units will also be important to designate quarantine areas in advance and staff them adequately,” Marcos said.