The government plans to spend P1.686 billion next year to expand the Department of Health’s Doctors to the Barrio Program, which will include the deployment of 13,000 additional nurses and midwives, a press release from the office of LPG/MA Rep. Arnel Ty said.
The fresh funding is contained in the proposed P1.816-trillion General Appropriations Act for 2012,Ty said.
“The enlarged Doctors to the Barrio Program will mobilize 200 physicians, 12,000 nurses, and 1,000 midwives to improve healthcare in underserved communities,” he said.
“In the process, the program will provide short-term work to our unemployed nurses and midwives, while they obtain extra training that will hopefully make their skills more marketable and enhance their future employability here or abroad,” Ty added.
Ty is author of House Bill 4582, seeking to establish a special employment plan for the nation’s jobless nurses, estimated at 290,000 by the Professional Regulation Commission.
The proposed Special Program for the Employment of Nurses in Urban and Rural Services by Tywould set out at least 10,000 practitioners every year, the press release said.
They would each serve a six-month tour of duty, and get a monthly stipend not lower than the amount commensurate to the higher starting pay for public nurses mandated by a 2002 law.
Nurses and midwives are now among large groups of professionals having difficulty finding gainful employment, Ty pointed out.
Last year alone, the PRC issued licenses to 41,189 new nurses and midwives. Many of them remain either totally jobless, or underemployed and desperately looking for more work.
Among other duties, Ty said the nurses under the expanded Doctors to Barrio Program would help vaccinate 2.6 million children, aged 0 to 15 months, against tuberculosis, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, polio, measles, and rotavirus.
They are also expected to help inoculate 1.2 million senior citizens against flu and pneumonia, and assist in carrying out the TB Control Program via the Directly Observed Treatment Short Course (DOTS) Strategy.
Ty said the nurses and midwives would also help advance maternal and infant health.
“In the rural areas and even in city slums, many indigent mothers still give birth at home without the benefit of trained attendants. This is why we are still losing so many mothers to childbirth-related complications,” Ty said.
Studies have shown that 162 Filipino mothers die out of every 10,000 births, and that 14 percent of all deaths among women may be attributed to pregnancy or to childbirth-related causes, the press release said.*