By Chino Leyco
The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) on Saturday said it has authorized the creation of 26,035 contractual positions for health workers to support the implementation of the Human Resource for Health Deployment Program (HRHDP).
In a statement, the DBM said contractual positions, which are all under the Department of Health (DOH), will enjoy employer-employee relationship and are covered by civil service rules and regulations.
In the last 18 years, the DOH had been engaging medical and allied-medical workers on a contract of service (COS) basis, but without employer-employee relationship. Thus, they are only paid their basic salaries without other benefits enjoyed by regular employees.
But with the new DBM ruling, the 26,035 contractual positions will start receiving Personnel Economic Relief Allowance, Mid-Year Bonus, Year-End Bonus, and Cash Gift, among others – benefits which are currently exclusive to regular government personnel. These benefits are on top of their basic salaries.
These health workers who will be hired by the DOH on contractual basis will be composed of medical officers, dentists, medical technologists, nurses, nutritionists, pharmacists, physical therapists, and midwives. They will be deployed to 1,634 cities and municipalities nationwide, especially in far-flung, geographically isolated, disadvantaged, and remote areas with inadequate personnel to enhance the access to and delivery of health care services to the public.
The HRHDP is a strategy of the DOH to augment, redistribute, and retain health workers in the country to enhance access to quality health services.
The goal of the HRHDP is to assign at least one dedicated health worker per barangay to ensure availability of health services eight hours a day, seven days a week. This program also augments the manpower complement of Rural Health Units (RHUs) of various local government units to ensure the provision of healthcare services 24/7, especially emergency and birthing home services.
The HRHDP’s priority scope of areas include: geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas; municipalities belonging to 6th, 5th, and 4th classes; identified municipalities with indigenous peoples; identified municipalities with Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title barangays; municipalities with identified pharmaceutical programs; and, focus areas based on the Philippine Plan of Action for Nutrition.