Friday, April 24, 2020

Supplier of World’s Nurses Struggles to Fight Virus at Home

Medical personnel move tanks of oxygen at a triage area for suspected coronavirus patients at Santa Ana Hospital in Manila on April 14. Photographer: Ezra Acayan/Getty Images

By Ditas B Lopez and Claire Jiao

The Philippines is known for training nurses and exporting them to all corners of the world, but now the nation finds itself shorthanded just as its number of coronavirus infections and deaths skyrocket.

The islands’ death toll from Covid-19 has surged nearly fivefold since April 1 to 462, and the confirmed cases have tripled to 6,981 as of April 23. On Friday, President Rodrigo Duterte extended a lockdown over the capital region and nearby areas by another two weeks to May 15.

With more Filipinos becoming sick, the consequences of a medical brain drain are weighing on the health-care industry. There is an estimated shortage of 23,000 nurses nationwide, according to the Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines Inc. The situation is so severe that most Filipinos die without even seeing a medical professional, a lawmaker said. Meanwhile, about 150,000 Filipino nurses currently work in the U.S. alone.  Read more >>