Pinay nurse calls for volunteers to Norway’s Covid-19 response
By Macel Ingles, Norway
DRAMMEN – A Filipina nurse has called on fellow nurse kababayans in Norway to register as volunteers in their municipality to show solidarity and offer help to assist in Norway’s Covid-19 medical response.
In her post on Facebook last March 16, Judith Julianes Diego wrote that she is making a list of those who would want to sign up as volunteers in Oslo. This list, Diego explained is “over everyone who can contribute and (that she will) take it to the health officials to speak our case.”
“The reason why I am encouraging our Filipino nurses here in Norway is that I know that there is a lot out there who have the same situation as me before. There is nothing wrong with informing the authority that we are here ready to extend our help in this pandemic crisis,” she wrote in Facebook message to Pinoy Portal Europe.
“In the end, it is still the authority who will decide who can help. This is just to show them that we Filipino nurses are here. This is our calling, to help,” she further wrote.
Diego works as a registered nurse in a nursing home in Oslo. From Bataan, she came to Norway five years ago as an au pair. After her au pair stint, she worked as a health worker for three years before she became a registered nurse just this February after completing her qualification courses at OsloMet.
Nurses with a bachelor in Nursing from the Philippines have to apply for authorization to work as “health worker” after submitting requirements while those with no previous medical background have to undergo a one year qualification course to be authorized as “health worker”. Those who want to work as registered nurse need to take further study before they can be authorized to work as “authorized nurse.”
There about 3,000 Filipino health workers in Norway and is the third largest group of foreign health workers in Norway.
Her appeal has been reported at Norwegian public broadcaster, NRK. The report also quoted Anne Farseth, unit head in the Norwegian Health Directorate that those who sign up as volunteers but are not authorized as health workers or not qualified for it, can still help by working under supervision by authorized personnel.
Credit to Judith Julianes Diego
Farseth also encouraged nurses without Norwegian authorization to contact their municipalities to inquire if they need help.
At present, at total of 7,787 hospital workers have been put in quarantine and 287 hospital personnel have been infected as of 24 March according to the online site of Norwegian newspaper, VG.
The large number of workers who cannot be put to work due to quarantines is putting a strain on the manpower of most hospitals and resulting in extra work hours for other medical personnel.
Diego’s initiative was also met with praise by the Filipino community in Oslo with some saying that it is a very good initiative and thanked her for the effort.
However, one reaction to her post caught the attention of many kababayans on social media. A certain Posh-Jena Dalumag reacted to Diego’s initiative by writing that the post gives “false hope” and warned of the “risk” involved.
Dalumag further posted her criticism on a Facebook group called “Pinoy Tindahan in Norway”, an online selling Facebook site for Filipinos in Norway. In the post on the site, she called on the “head of Philippine embassy to take action “on those people na nag-e-encourage na mag-join sa whatever Norway is calling..” Adding such post provide “false reassurances”, she also wrote that she wants “our people protected and proper channels should be used” and warned of the risks involved such as the lack of protective equipment for health personnel in Norway.
Reactions to Dalumag’s post were mixed with some writing that Diego’s initiative is only calling for volunteers and those who disagree with her need not sign up. Some even defended Diego saying that the post is not “pasikat” and should instead be lauded. Others also wrote that Dalumag also has some valid points in warning others of the consequences for volunteering.
The thread generated up to a thousand comments with some tagging this reporter. It has since been deleted from the group as of this writing.
Asked what she makes of detractors, Diego replied in a message that she will no longer comment on Damulag’s post saying, “We have our differences. And we should respect that.“