“We must not neglect testing the way it has been in past two years. Access to testing must be ensured, especially for symptomatic individuals, and those who cannot work from home regardless of vaccination status.”
For Joshua San Pedro, co-convenor of the Coalition for People’s Right to Health, corruption will persist until a comprehensive public health care is established and there are no more gaps in social services that may be taken advantage of and profited from.
“If we are to learn from the COVID pandemic, we must treat it as an opportunity to reframe public health and governance towards recognizing and promoting human rights.”
By insisting COVID-19 vaccines remain under the control of big pharmaceutical companies under their TRIPS-mandated 20-year monopoly patents, the WTO has effectively restricted access to these life-saving vaccines especially for countries who need them the most.
For Joshua San Pedro, co-convenor of the Coalition for People’s Right to Health, data on vaccine distribution in the country is anything but transparent.
Comelec earlier denied the Nurses United Partylist the accreditation it needs to run for the partylist elections next year. This, said Makabayan chairperson and senatorial aspirant Neri Colmenares, adds to “the big injustice suffered by our pandemic heroes.”
The reverting to the strictest lockdown did not offer relief to the overburdened health workers as Covid-19 cases continued to climb, following pronouncements from the health department that there is already a community transmission of the Delta variant, a variant of concern per the WHO that has brought nightmares to the public health care of other countries hit by it.
For perspective, the PGH received P6.87 billion ($134.90 Billion) in 2021. Thus, instead of increasing the hospital’s budget because of the increasing expenses due to the demands of the pandemic, the proposed budget cuts the hospital’s allocation by 18 percent.
In the proposed budget, the epidemiology and disease surveillance program is set to receive P113 million in 2022. This is 33 percent lower than this year’s P158.6 million budget, and even way lower than the allocation set for this program before the pandemic.
“We must not endanger the lives of PLE takers over a 4-day face-to-face examination in the middle of highly unsafe conditions just so that they may be added to our health workforce.”
Described by the health department as “the first batch of fund transfers,” the P311.79-million ($6.2 million) SRA funds is a measly 2.6 percent of the unused P11.9-billion ($238.2 million) allocated for health workers’ Special Risk Allowance and Hazard Pay, which the Commission on Audit recently flagged.