Until the novel coronavirus disease pandemic struck, budgets for health care did not fulfill the requirements prescribed by the World Health Organization, according to Carmen Bolinto, president of the Philippine Nurses Association Baguio chapter.
She said the 2021 health budget had been reduced, “but COVID-19 is still there.”
Bolinto added the Department of Health tried to narrow down the inequity in medical staffing as far back as 2018.
For example, the ideal 2018 ratio of one doctor for 800 Filipinos has not been carried out because one doctor still treats 1,500 people. The ratio for nurses is actually 1 is to 60 when ideally, one nurse should handle only 12 patients at a given moment.
She shared, when supplies of alcohol and personal protective gear like face masks disappeared from the shelves, however, nurses stepped up by forming the Cordillera Nurses Brigade to maintain a supply of food, medicine, and safety equipment.