Health professionals needed for Bicol's barrios

Health pros needed for Bicol's barrios
Photo: Pixabay
LEGAZPI CITY—The regional health office for Bicol here on Monday said it needs over a hundred doctors, dentists and other public health professionals who would be hired and deployed in the region’s underserved and unserved barrios.

This massive hiring and deployment is under the Department of Health’s (DOH) Public Health Associate Deployment Program (PHADP), a two-year (2015-16) project to employ public health associates (PHAs) that shall be assigned in Focus Geographical Areas (FGA) composed of municipalities in 43 provinces of the country identified by the DOH.

PHADP aims to assign PHAs in Rural Health Units (RHUs) and work alongside with other Human Resources for Health (HRH) focusing on the implementation of DOH programs and health plans under the overall goal of Universal Health Care (UHC) or Kalusugang Pangkalahatan.

UHC is the current thrust of the Aquino Administration in order to bridge the inequality gap and reduce barriers to health care, reduce social exclusion and work towards universal coverage of delivering health services to Filipinos.

Involving the provision of adequate resources – health human resources, health facilities and health financing, UHC’s ultimate goal is to provide every Filipino with the highest possible quality of health care that is accessible, efficient, equitably distributed, adequately funded, fairly financed and appropriately used by an informed and empowered public.

This thrust pursues three strategies such as financial risk protection through expansion in enrollment and benefit delivery of the National Health Insurance Program (NHIP); improved access to quality hospitals and health care facilities; and attainment of health-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

DOH explains that protection from the financial impacts of health care is attained by making any Filipino eligible to enroll, to know their entitlements and responsibilities, to avail of health services and to be reimbursed by PhilHealth with regard to health care expenditures.

It has redirected PhilHealth operations towards enhancing national and regional health insurance system resulting in a rapid NHIP enrollment, expanding to improved population coverage.

Under the UHC, the DOH said improved access to quality hospitals and health care facilities is now being achieved in a number of creative approaches like the upgrading of government-owned and operated hospitals and health facilities that now accommodate larger capacity to attend to all types of emergencies and to handle non-communicable diseases.

The six Bicol provinces are among the FGA and for Camarines Sur alone, DOH regional director Emilia Monicimpo over the weekend said 21 medical doctors, four dentists and five medical technologists who are willing to be assigned in different localities are the initial target for hiring under the 2016 deployment of Human Resource for Health (HRH) component of the PHADP.

Camarines Sur is the region’s largest province with a population of around two million distributed among its 35 local government units, most of them considered as FGA.

Monicimpo explained that the implementation of PHADP involves medical pool placement and utilization program wherein physicians and medical specialists are assigned in DOH hospitals and provincial hospitals based on needs and program criteria.

It also involves Doctors to the Barrios (DTTB), the assignment of physicians for two years primarily in 4th to 6th class municipalities that has not have a doctor for at least two years as well as the Registered Nurses for Health Enhancement and Local Service (RN HEALS) that assigns nurses six months in the RHU and then another six months for hospital service.

Other components of the PHADP are the Rural Health Midwives Program (RHMP) that assigns midwives in Barangay Health Stations (BHS) and RHUs for improved maternal and child care, and the Rural Health Team Placement Program (RHTPP) that deploys dentists, medical technologists and nutritionist-dietitians in field health facilities to complement existing RHU personnel.

Under RHMP, BHS and RHUs are provided with facilities to be able to attend to Basic Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care (BEmONC) or Comprehensive Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care (CEmONC).

Monicimpo said that the implementation of the PHADP in six Bicol provinces need more than a hundred doctors, dentists, medical technologists and other HRH which are now being recruited for hiring and deployment starting in 2016.

This hiring and eventual deployment is under DOH Administrative Order No. 2015-026 signed on June 2015 by Health Secretary Janette Loreto-Garin.

Areas for deployment will also include Accelerated and Sustainable Anti-Poverty (ASAP) areas, Whole of Nation Initiative (WNI) and Bottom-Up budgeting (BUB) areas, Monicimpo said. (by Danny O. Calleja, PNA)

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