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DOH denies claims of NKTI workers not receiving benefits amid COVID-19 pandemic

Employees of the National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI) are provided enough protection amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said Monday.

Vergeire was responding to the statement made by the NKTI Employees Association-Alliance of Health Workers who staged a silent protest on Saturday over an alleged worsening workplace situation for them amid COVID-19 pandemic.

The NKTI health care workers were demanding free mandatory and periodic swab testing for all health workers, hiring of additional workforce, regularization of all contractual healthcare workers, among others.

They also claimed that 242 of their colleagues, including doctors and contractual health workers, are not being paid with benefits due them such as hazard pay, overtime pay, and sick leave pay.

“Nakausap po natin ang Chief of Hospital ng NKTI, at sina-swab po ang mga empleyado [for RT-PCR COVID-19 test], ina-admit po sa ospital nila. Sina-swab test po hindi lang po ang mga empleyado, kundi pati mga kamag-anak po nila,” Vergeire said.

She then said that charging the NKTI employees’ COVID-19 related expenses to Philhealth is within protocol.

“Bilang empleyado ng ospital o health care worker, as part of protocol, puwede iyon i-charge sa Philhealth,” Vergeire said.

She conceded that managing personnel amid the COVID-19 situation is tough, but it does not mean that health workers are not taken care of.

“Hindi po madali, napakahirap po ng kinakalaban natin. Iyong mga chief of hospitals, they have to handle their staff, iyong mga accommodation ng pasyente na kinakailangan, pero may claims ang ibang health workers na hindi sukat sa mga sinabi ng chief of hospital,” Vergeire said.

“Naibibigay naman po ang karampatang benepisyo ng health workers,” she added.—AOL, GMA News