By Abigail Pia and Jose Pacleb III
Our world has struck with an unforeseen calamity, most of us didn’t know how to deal this new enemy, an unseen enemy. For almost a year, the world has been battling coronavirus disease-19(COVID-19). Great and small nations alike came to almost a standing halt due to the effects of the pandemic. In the Philippine setting, there is a steady rise in cases of COVID, To counter the rise of cases the congress enacted the Republic Act 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, the law gives the President the power to reallocate and to reprogram P275 billion (or 62 percent) of the already approved P438 billion budget for 2020. This law enables the government to deal with the budgetary needs of the nation for social protection and to fight the pandemic.
According to an article from Reuters, This year’s Philippine budget deficit is estimated to reach 1.56 trillion pesos ($31.04 billion) or 8.1% of GDP. In the economic sector, we are on the ropes, the Filipinos are already exhausted not only emotionally but also financially, Thus the unrest protest for tangible results in resolving this or at least lessen the effects of the pandemic.
In this matter, human rights have a big impact on our health care profession. The ethical considerations that are implemented in the City of Bacolod, Neg Occ. The researchers will interview health care workers around Bacolod city to know how they deal with the constant discrimination.
This research aims to know what is the proper relief that will be sought to counter or mitigate the constant discriminative unethical acts against the health care workers.
Health professionals maintain health in humans through the application of the principles and procedures of evidence-based medicine and caring. Health professionals study, diagnose, treat and prevent human illness, injury, and other physical and mental impairments following the needs of the populations they serve. They advise on or apply preventive and curative measures, and promote health with the ultimate goal of meeting the health needs and expectations of individuals and populations, and improving population health outcomes. They also conduct research and improve or develop concepts, theories, and operational methods to advance evidence-based health care. Their duties may include the supervision of other health workers (adapted from ILO 2008; WHO 2010; Gupta 2011).
Healthcare refers to the organized provision of medical care to people and communities. By that definition, healthcare careers do not just include doctors, nurses, and other frontline clinicians who often come to mind first when people think of healthcare jobs. Administrators, therapists, chiropractors, paramedics, and technology professionals all have a place in helping people live well.
Due to its size and diversity, healthcare welcomes new professionals with many different skills, interests, and personalities. In general, people who work in this sector have hearts to serve others and intellectual interests in math and science.
What is Ethics ?
Ethical values are essential for any healthcare provider. Ethics comes from the Greek word “ethnos,” meaning character. Ethical values are universal rules of conduct that provide a practical basis for identifying what kinds of actions, intentions, and motives are valued. Ethics are moral principles that govern how the person or a group will behave or conduct themselves. The focus pertains to the right and wrong of actions and encompasses the decision-making process of determining the ultimate consequences of those actions. Each person has their own set of personal ethics and morals.
Ethics within healthcare are important because workers must recognize healthcare dilemmas, make good judgments and decisions based on their values while keeping within the laws that govern them. To practice competently with integrity, nurses, like all healthcare professionals, must have regulation and guidance within the profession. The American Nurses Association (ANA) has developed the Code of Ethics for this purpose.
Ethical consideration can be addressed at individual and at societal levels. The way that individuals are affected by the conduct of others merits ethical consideration. The risk of harm to that person becomes an essential ethical consideration in deciding what information to disclose and how to disclose it. The risk will need to be balanced against the ethical interest in respecting the autonomy of the person affected, and their choice about whether to know or not. (2021 Australian Law Reform Commission )
The Objective of the Study is to identify the ethical values towards Health care workers that may prevent Discrimination and it focuses on the following objectives:
- This research aims to know what is the proper relief that will be sought to prevent or prohibit the constant discriminative unethical acts against the health care workers.
- To have proper COVID-19 awareness for the general public to let them know that the facilities have the proper equipment and procedure to handle the pandemic, to lessen the stigma against the pandemic.
- To have a secure environment for the health care professional to lessen the psychological damage, to be more productive, and to have better well-being.
This study will utilize the Descriptive design using a survey wherein it will merely determine the level on how the participants experience or encounter work relation discrimination.
These will be Medical or Healthcare professionals working in the city of Bacolod., Negros Occidental.
A purposive-convenient type of sampling will be employed and will be utilized a total number of thirty (30)respondents.
This study will utilize a checklist that will be filed up during data collection.
Data will be collected thru an online platform by sending questionnaires through google forms in the different areas of Bacolod.
Question : Have you encountered work relation discrimination of the following:
0 – being the lowest and 5 – Being the Highest
It is deplorable that our health workers now bear the grunt of the hate and mistreatment despite the risk they take on a daily basis.
According to the study, Health care workers experience emotional exhaustion, which may lead to medical errors, lack of empathy in treating patients, lower productivity, and higher turnover rates. And all because of that they experience ethical discrimination. As to the study, Discrimination carries somewhat negative connotations related to “ inequality. It has been defined as “ adverse action toward employees or applicants on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, age sex or disability “ ( Wendell, 2003, p. 113 ). In some other studies ( Lawler and Bae, 1998, Regmi and Naidoo, 2009 ), it refers to exclusion of some specific groups and people from sharing of power, income, and utility; or treatment of some groups unequally (Ataov, 2002 )
Respondents described many challenges of COVID-19 including threatened because of their job, quitting job because of discrimination, encountered psychological distress. Despite these challenges, the Healthcare workers felt that they were fully responsible to care for their patients as it was part of their duty.
In this study, it shows that the participants from different medical institutions have a different response in how they have handled and encountered discriminations. This survey is conducted in December of 2020, A year after the pandemic has started, the researcher learned that the people now are more considerate than the pandemic started. Yet we should always be wary, for the work of our health care professionals is challenging, they also need us, ordinary citizens to lift their spirits up.
Conclusion – Analysis Finding
In this preliminary study, the majority of the respondents in this study are employed in a private hospital, did not experience discrimination especially in in-house rentals, the community they are in, including social media. It seems that the majority of their family and friends understand their job perfectly. The majority also did not receive any threats leading them to stay at work. Although acceptance is already high in their environment, basic needs as a covid warrior are present but distress is still present.
The life of a healthcare worker is not easy, especially during these times of pandemic, wherein there is uncertainty. The government is scrambling towards the best solutions that they could come up with in handling the pandemic, but as of this writing, the situation is full of doubts. A new variant has been discovered, the pharmaceutical companies are on a massive challenge regarding the logistics of the vaccine, indeed everything is unpredictable.
To help with the constant changes, we could help our modern-day heroes. In Bacolod City, the researchers found that there is a stigma against health care professionals. Being on a 12-hour duty is already hard enough, how much more the discrimination against them.
The researcher recommends an ordinance to help educate the community about procedures and health standards in the facility. Prohibit any form of discrimination and have a heavy penalty against those who violate the ordinance.
The awareness of the community regarding the health standards of the facility in the community would ease the people on their notion that the health care professionals are “carriers”. News reports would indicate that the people are unaware that the facilities follow strict rules from the World Health Organization. The best way to cure misinformation is to spread awareness from the hospitals that they are within the guidelines in handling the COVID-19 cases.
Prohibiting any form of discrimination against our health care professional would give them the calmness they need to fight another day. Survey shows that our health care professionals suffer from psychological distress. For them to feel secured, we need to do our part of making them feel welcome without any mental reservation.
Imposing a heavier penalty would create fear in those who would dare to discriminate against the health care professionals.
The Philippine government, now on third reading, approves a COVID-19 anti-discrimination bill. This law seeks to protect persons who are confirmed, suspect, or probable COVID-19 cases. This bill is not yet a law, the researcher is of the opinion that a city ordinance would be faster to promulgate and easier to enforce.
The main objective of the ordinance is to have a sense of security for our health care professionals to work efficiently without having to worry about their safety.
Ethics – the discipline dealing with what is good and bad and with moral duty and obligation.
Ethical Consideration- an accumulation of values and principles that address questions of what is good or bad in human affairs.
Psychological Damage- a behavioral state resulting from severe mental or emotional stress or physical injury
Discrimination-prejudiced or prejudicial outlook, action or treatment.
Health Care- efforts made to maintain or restore physical, mental, or emotional well-being especially by trained and licensed professionals.
Care Worker- a person whose job is to give care to people who are ill, disabled, etc.