By Houda Mzioudet.
Tripoli, 15, August 2013:
The Filipino ambassador, Oscar G. Orcine, met with heads of hospitals in Benghazi this week to . . .[restrict]discuss the conditions of Filipino medical staff in the city and ways of improving them. Safety inside hospitals and the challenges facing Filipino health workers over employment contracts were specifically on the agenda, Orcine told the Libya Herald.
He met with the directors of Hawari General Hospital, Al-Jala Hospital, Ibn Sina Hospital and Benghazi Medical Centre on Tuesday and discussed the security environment of their hospitals. He also had talks with the chairman of Benghazi Local Council on the council’s efforts to protect Filipino workers’ conditions generally.
“They assured us that they would continue to exert the best efforts to safeguard Filipino health workers. They all recognised their significance and valuable contribution in Libyan society”, Orcine explained.
There are some 8,300 Filipino health workers in Libya, according to the ambassador. Half of them – around 4,000 – are in Benghazi, he said. He added that during the revolution, between 1,500 and 2,000 Filipino nurses and medical staff had decided to remain in Libya, despite being told by their government they should return home.
Last month, three Filipino health workers were victims of an attempted abduction in Sebha.
In the fortnight between 27 July and 9 August, 21 incidents of Filipino nurses being robbed by criminal gangs were reported to the Philippines Embassy in Libya. “They were traumatised because they lost money, mobile phones, laptops and other valuables,” Orcine explained.
A number of specific security plans were agreed during the his Benghazi visit including increasing the number of Libyan government security units in hospitals, installing of CCTV inside hospitals and nursing accommodation and well as the installation of metal detectors at hospital entrances and imposing strict security and safety rules inside hospitals and housing units for Filipino nurses.
The ambassador also met with Filipino nurses in the city and briefed them on his visit.
Despite the difficult working conditions, “no Filipino nurse or other medical staff has resigned, or indicated will to reign from work” Orcine stressed. [/restrict]