By Ben Rosario
Some 13,000 health professionals will be deployed to various rural communities next year as government moved to further strengthen its health program to underserved communities.
Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel, a member of the House Appropriations Committee, disclosed that the House of Representatives has already approved a P9-billion allocation for the national government program.
At least 9,138 nurses, 3,650 midwives, 243 physicians and 241dentists are currently being recruited by the Department of Health (DOH) to provide additional medical services in the rural areas, according to Pimentel.
“The deployment is expected to proceed even in an extreme scenario wherein the government operates on a re-enacted spending program until February next year,” said Pimentel.
Pimentel, former chairman of the House Committee on Good Government, said that of the P9 billion for the Human Resources for Health Deployment Program, P7.8 billion is lodged in the Miscellaneous Personnel Benefits Fund, while the balance of the P1.2 billion is with the DOH.
To augment regular staff, the DOH has been contracting extra health professionals every year to serve under the following programs:
• Doctors to the Barrios (DTTB), wherein physicians serve for two years mostly in fourth to sixth-class municipalities that have not had a doctor in the last 24 months;
• Medical Pool Placement and Utilization Program (MP-PUP), wherein physicians and/or medical specialists are deployed to DOH-run hospitals and/or provincial hospitals;
• Registered Nurses for Health Enhancement and Local Service (RN HEALS), wherein nurses serve for six months in community rural health units and another six months in public hospitals;
• Rural Health Midwives Program (RHMP), wherein midwives are assigned to barangay health stations and rural health units to provide maternal and child care services, including basic as well as comprehensive emergency obstetric and newborn care; and
• Rural Health Team Placement Program (RHTPP), wherein dentists, medical technologists, and nutritionist-dietitians are detailed to field health facilities to complement existing personnel.
“We would urge qualified health professionals looking for gainful employment to sign up, so they can help underserved communities while getting paid well,” Pimentel said.
The acquired training from the service would also help qualified professionals land even better jobs elsewhere later on, according to the lawmaker from Mindanao.