WV frontliners still hopeful amid COVID-19 pandemic

Health care workers at Western Visayas Medical Center ask the public to stay at home amid the war on the coronavirus disease 2019. (Photo courtesy of Western Visayas Medical Center)

By Joseph B.A. Marzan

In recent days, frontliners from the health sector—doctors, nurses, medical technologists, radiologic technologists, laboratory technicians, among many others working in healthcare facilities—have been feeling the brunt of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in their own neighborhoods.

Many have seen and heard the stories of how some were kicked out of their lodging places, turned away at pharmacies and laundry shops, and being prohibited from buying even just essential goods from a sari-sari store in Iloilo City.

Still, these frontline health workers are fighting for the people, in a war they did not ask for but are willing to face.

They are the unsung heroes of our time who are dancing with the demons in their minds and need our support more than ever.

Daily Guardian spoke to some of these frontliners who agreed to share their stories with us, on the condition that they remain anonymous.



“As a nurse, I can say that I feel empowered and a bit depressed at the same time. Since the very beginning we were always taught to wash our hands before and after handling a patient. Now, the time has come that our knowledge had been put to the test. I can say that with the right personal protective equipment (PPE) and safe handling, with the patients that we have right now, infected or not, we strive to reach our common goal of eradicating this virus, and that alone makes our work fulfilling. But at the end of the day, we are only human beings. Yes, we also fear for our own lives, for the lives of our own family. We receive discrimination because we work in the healthcare setting. We feel proud that we are the Filipino frontliners but with how the public sees and treats us, it makes our job more heavy and challenging. However, because we took an oath and swore to help those in need, no matter how heavy I feel right now, giving up in these times is not an option.” – Matilda, Operating Room nurse, Iloilo City



“Our hospital is set in a province with zero cases and we hope and pray it stays that way. Yet in line with the pandemic we are being extra cautious, we find substitutes for our PPE since supply is running low. With 19 [Medical Technologists], we were only provided with one full PPE. We may not test for COVID but we are exposed to patients on a daily basis that can be a carrier of a deadly virus. Our job gives us only a few minutes of exposure to our patients, yet we deal with their highly infectious body fluids. We don’t just go face to face with patients, we are facing the actual virus and pathogens daily. Our mental states are being stirred up, apart from the fact that the regular people don’t see the value and importance of our work, some of our brothers and sisters in the profession are being discriminated and very few people actually know about the work of a medical technologist.” – Wanda, Medical Technologist, Guimaras



“I have made my profession my passion. One of the greatest lessons I have learned from the Jesuit-Catholic school that shaped me to be the person I am today is to do things without counting the cost, to be a person for others, to strive for excellence in all that I do, and to always do things for His greater glory. These life lessons were the greatest influence I had when I decided to take up nursing because it is where I could use all my resources to help the most number of people to the best of my abilities. I find motivation knowing I have made a difference not only in my patients’ lives but also in their families’ lives.”—Rocky, Emergency Room nurse, Iloilo



“If we look at the state of healthcare in the country right now, we can clearly see how unprepared we are. There is nothing much you can do but make the best use of what you have and do things creatively and to the best of your abilities. I don’t forget to include optimism in everything that I do because I can see that we can all get through this. Our leaders, at least locally, are doing their best to keep the Ilonggos safe. With their excellent leadership, plus the expertise of the Ilonggo healthcare workers, we can win this war against [COVID-19].”—Martin, Emergency Room nurse, Iloilo City