The Ebola suits received by health workers were very different from the full-body hazmat suits the Department of Health (DOH) presented before President Benigno S. Aquino III, reports ABS-CBN News.
The hazmat suits previously shown to the president were high-quality, full-body gear that passed international standards. These suits are essential for stopping the spread of Ebola from a patient with the virus to the health worker and the rest of the population.
The DOH earned praise on these hazmat suits for their readiness to tackle an issue of extreme medical importance.
Ordinary hospital suits?
The health workers were shocked, however, when low-quality suits arrived. Instead of hazmat suits, the ones given to the health workers looked similar to scrub suits worn inside operating rooms.
Some parts of the body are still exposed, especially the face which is only covered by goggles and simple surgical masks. The gloves also look thin.
Wearing these low-quality gears might protect the body, but there is still a high likelihood of the health worker contracting the virus via the exposed body parts.
Considering that these workers are mostly volunteers who do not even get paid for their services, they are angry over what they believe is failure in the part of the government to keep them safe.
Arrival of peacekeepers, workers
Aside from the arrival of the peacekeepers from Liberia, the government is also anticipating the arrival of OFWs who were voluntarily repatriated from several nations in the affected places in Africa.
This means more people could potentially arrive in the country as possible carriers of the Ebola virus. They have to undergo the mandatory 21-day quarantine to ensure they are free of the disease despite testing negative before flying to the Philippines.
With these people arriving, the health workers fear the disease could arrive in the country. The suits they were provided are certainly not adequate to combat the spread of the disease.
They staged a protest to question where the real hazmats are or whether the government really procured these suits for the health workers.
According to Under Secretary Janet Garin of the DOH, the health department is prepared for the possible arrival of Ebola, saying the real hazmat suits have already arrived.
She said, however, that the hazmat suits will only be released to the health workers when these are really needed.
Watch the report from ABS-CBN here: