Thursday, August 04, 2011

Funding for rural healthcare: P1.6

MANILA, Philippines — The Aquino government is allocating P1.686 billion for the expansion of the Department of Health’s (DoH’s) “Doctors to the Barrio” program to improve healthcare services in depressed rural areas.

LPG/MA Party-list Rep. Arnel Ty Thursday welcomed the huge funding, to be used for the deployment of 200 physicians, 12,000 nurses, and 1,000 midwives in underserved communities.

“The program will provide short-term work to our unemployed nurses and midwives, while they obtain extra training that will make their skills more marketable and enhance their future employability here or abroad,” he said.

Under the expanded “Doctors to Barrio” program, the nurses would help vaccinate 2.6-million children against tuberculosis (TB), diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, polio, measles, and rotavirus. They are also expected to help inoculate 1.2-million senior citizens against flu and pneumonia, and assist in carrying out the TB control program via the Directly Observed Treatment Short Course (DOTS) Strategy, Ty said.

He said the expanded health program would at least lessen the number of maternal deaths, noting that 162 Filipino mothers die out of every 10,000 births, and that 14 percent of all deaths among women may be attributed to pregnancy or to childbirth-related causes.

“In the rural areas and even in city slums, many indigent mothers still give birth at home without the benefit of trained attendants. This is why we are still losing so many mothers to childbirth-related complications,” the party-list lawmaker said.

Ty had earlier sought the establishment of a special employment plan for jobless nurses, numbering about 290,000 as disclosed by the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC).

Under the proposed “Special Program for the Employment of Nurses in Urban and Rural Services” (NURSE), seeking to benefit at least 10,000 practitioners every year, nurses would each serve a six-month tour of duty, and get a monthly stipend not lower than the amount commensurate to the higher starting pay for public nurses mandated by the 2002 law.


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