By Charissa Luci-Atienza
A neophyte partylist lawmaker is calling on the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Department of Health (DOH) to immediately look into the purported “unceremonious” termination of barangay health workers by barangay chairpersons and other local government unit (LGU) officials.
Barangay Health Wellness (BHW) partylist Rep. Angelica Natasha Co said her office received several complaints regarding the termination of the BHWs.
“It is very unfortunate and appalling to hear that our barangay health workers and health services are politicized rather than institutionalized,” she said in a letter dated July 1 to DILG Secretary Eduardo Año.
In that letter, she said the terminated BHWs were replaced by those who have not undergone any health care training and education.
“This is not in accord with RA (Republic Act) 7883 which provides that only accredited barangay health workers who have sufficient training, education, and career enhancement can deliver primary health care services to our communities,” Co pointed out.
She explained that RA 7883, otherwise known as the “Barangay Health Workers’ Benefits and Incentives Act of 1995”, guarantees the protection and welfare of BHWs to ensure that the delivery of primary health services at the community level is unhampered.
“The barangay health workers are the main stewards and front-liners in promoting and ensuring our community health programs,” she said.
“If the primary health care at the community level fails, it would lead to greater and more serious health problems which would entail greater resources and expenses that common people and even the government can hardly shoulder or afford,” she warned.
Co asked Año and Health Secretary Francisco Duque III “to take immediate and appropriate action” on the matter to ensure the promotion and protection of the welfare and rights of the BHWs.
“I trust the DILG and the Health Department Secretaries would look into this matter immediately,” she said.