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Less than half of nearly 9,000 slots for health workers for COVID-19 response filled

More than half of the nearly 9,300 available jobs for healthcare workers under the government’s COVID-19 emergency hiring program have yet to be filled, President Rodrigo Duterte told Congress on Monday.

As of June 13, only 41% or equivalent to 3,807 healthcare workers have been hired out of the 9,297 slots approved for 270 facilities, Duterte said, citing government data.

The President said the Department of Health (DOH) identified the following “bottlenecks” in the hiring of healthcare workers:

-low uptake/no takers for some positions (e.g. physicians)

-some applicants have private practice that they cannot compromise

-some applicants have backed out due to various reasons (distance of the facility from their residence, lack of reliable means of transportation, lack of halfway house/accommodation, concerns from family on possible COVID-19 transmission in the household, poor perception on biosafety or lack of confidence in infection control protocols)

-delays in screening due to the requirement of some RT-PCR testing facilities for its applicants (preference for those with experience working in the health sector)

To address the matter, Duterte said the evaluation of facility requests has been decentralized.

He also said the DOH-Central Office is constantly coordinating with the Centers for Health Development, DOH hospitals, diagnostic laboratories and other health facilities to follow up on requests and actions taken, and assess and resolve hiring issues.

The department is also using various platforms (DOH website, social media, press briefings) to call for applications and requests. —LDF, GMA News