A HOUSE leader has sought the hiring of at least one registered nurse in every barangay to address its workforce unemployment problem and improve the delivery of health care services in the countryside amid the coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) pandemic.
House Assistant Majority Leader and Las Piñas City Rep. Camille Villar, a stalwart of the Nacionalista Party (NP),said the barangay is at the forefront in the delivery of health care services and tapping the skills and knowledge of professional nurses would help provide a better health care system.
“This will not only address the problem of the unemployment and underemployment of our professional nurses, but will be considered a leap in improving the health service delivery in the country,” said Villar stressed in filing her House Bill (HB) 3312 or “A Nurse in Every Barangay Act of 2019”, adding that health should be the first and foremost concern of the government.
Under her proposal, Villar said nurses employed under the program shall be entitled to a monthly stipend preferably equal to salary grade 15, consistent with the mandatory minimum entry-level pay for government nurses under the Philippine Nursing Act of 2002, or Republic Act (RA) No. 9173.
She underscored the importance of nurses in every barangay to monitor and educate the people about right nutrition, improve community sanitation to prevent the spread of any disease, and others.
“Nurses are very important to our barangays to ensure a better health care system. Even a hospital will have hard time operating without our beloved registered nurses,” Villar pointed out.
“The duties of each dispatched nurse include educating their respective barangays on the importance of health, hygiene, sanitation, and wellness. Their goal is not only to address the immediate medical needs of the community, but also, through education, to prevent illnesses and ailments. As Benjamin Franklin once said, ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’,” said Villar.
Villar recalled that the Philippine economy experienced a surge in growth in 2001 due to the increased demand for Filipino professionals abroad, foremost of which is the demand for registered nurses.
She said this demand for Filipino nurses abroad indeed helped fuel the Philippine economy with the remittances to the country sent by the Filipino nurses abroad.
However, Villar said the foreign demand for Filipino nurses has waned through the years, thus leaving many nurses unemployed and/or underemployed here in the Philippines.
As of January 2014, she added that the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) estimated that there are at least 300,000 unemployed nurses in the country and this figure is believed to have increased five years hence.
“The unemployment and/or underemployment of our nurses here or their non-deployment for abroad should not be considered a problem, but must be viewed as an opportunity.
The vast resources of competent Filipino nurses actually presents a welcome opportunity for our government to improve the delivery of health services in the country, particularly in far-flung barangays normally not catered by the conventional government health centers,” said Villar.
“The government may engage the services of the nurses to be at the forefront of the government health care programs,” Villar added.