Gov’t allots P2.8-B to hire 22,500 nurses, 4,379 midwives

THE AQUINO government has allocated P2.8 billion in 2013 to engage and deploy 22,500 nurses, 4,379 midwives and 131 physicians under the expanded Doctors to the Barrio and Rural Health Practices Program.

The fresh funding is P1.114 billion, or 66 percent, greater than the program’s P1.686-billion allocated this year, which is just enough to support the deployment of 12,000 nurses, 1,000 midwives and 200 physicians, according to Rep. Arnel Ty.

“We welcome the increased deployment of professionals, which will surely improve the delivery of badly needed healthcare services to underserved communities, while providing temporary jobs and extra training to our unemployed nurses and midwives,” Ty said.

“We are hopeful the additional knowledge and skills our nurses and midwives will gain from the program will assure them of highly rewarding jobs here or abroad, once they’ve completed their tour of duty,” Ty added.

Ty represents the sectoral party LPG Marketers’ Association (LPG-MA) in Congress, and is author of House Bill 4582, which seeks to establish a special jobs plan for the nation’s more than 300,000 unemployed nurses.

Ty’s proposed Special Program for the Employment of Nurses in Urban and Rural Services (NURSE) will deploy another 10,000 practitioners every year.

They will 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 among large groups of professionals having trouble finding full-time jobs, according to the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC).

This year alone, the PRC has issued licenses to 50,583 new nurses and 2,149 new midwives who passed their licensure examinations. Many of them remain either totally jobless, or underemployed and desperately looking for more work.

The nurses under the Doctors to Barrio Program and Rural Health Practices Program will help carry out the P2-billion expanded immunization of 2.7 million children, aged 0 to 15 months, against tuberculosis (TB), diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, polio, measles, and rotavirus.

They are also expected to help inoculate senior citizens against flu and pneumonia, and assist in the performance of the P1-billion TB Control Program via the Directly Observed Treatment Short Course (DOTS) Strategy.

The midwives would help advance maternal and infant health in rural areas, where many indigent mothers still give birth at home without the benefit of trained attendants.


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