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DOH: There are less health practitioners in Region IX

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The Department of Health (DOH) Center for Health Development IX reported on Thursday that there are now less health practitioners in Zamboanga Peninsula.

During a consultative meeting held at the Grand Astoria Hotel from October 11-12, the agency stated that one of the major causes for this problem is that "as the population continues to increase, the number of Human Resources for Health (HRH) remains the same, unable to meet the demands especially within rural communities".

This is why since the year 2009, the agency conducted the Health Human Resources Deployment (HHRD) program, which is “meant to aid in augmenting the number of public health staff in municipalities that lack the finances to pay for their salary”.

This year, it was participated by a total of 1,546 health practitioners, consisting of 868 nurses, 345 midwives, 92 public health associates, 52 medical technologists, 7 dentists, 72 family health associates, 15 nutritionists, 15 pharmacists and 2 physicians.

However, since the HRRD program is contractual, this also means that the program might end next year due to Senate Bill No. 174 also known as the End ENDO Act and huge budget cuts of DOH by 2019.

In an article written by Sofia Tomacruz in Rappler.com, "Lesser funds in the Department of Health’s (DOH) Health Human Resources Deployment (HHRD) program may result in the loss of about 15,012 health workers' jobs, Department of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said on Monday, September 3."

This is because from P9.6 billion in its 2018 budget, the funds will be slashed to around P1.2 billion for the 2019 budget of the department.

Hence, the DOH contractual nurses, who are mostly assigned in health centers in the different barangays under the city, province and municipality, will most likely the first ones to be affected.

A DOH official, who declined to be named, said that they are hoping that the local government units (LGUs) shall prioritize the budget for the health sector in their receptive Annual Executive Budget and Supplemental Budget for 2019 so that a city or provincial government can hire additional health personnel that would be deployed in the barangay level.

“This measure on the part of the LGUs is so important and necessary if they want to help the department in its health programs in the barangays,” the said health official stressed.(Kimberly L. Yusay)




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