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PGIN conducts Barangay Health Workers Congress, proposes reforms for BHW

by PGIN-CMO

Apr. 18, 2016 ...

The Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte (PGIN) through the Provincial Health Office conducted a two-week Barangay Health Workers (BHW) Congress for a total of 3,707 workers  at the Ilocos Norte Centennial Arena last April 4-8 and 11-15.

Accommodating one district per week, with two towns or cities per day, a "graduation" was held on each Friday along with distribution of medical kits containing a weighing scale, blood pressure apparatus, stethoscope, and several other first-aid supplies to each participant. Nebulizers and glucometers are also to follow suit.

Governor Imee R. Marcos also introduced the BHW insurance cards, also distributed on the graduation days, which entitles the holder to up to Php50,000.00 if they or a family member gets into an accident, and Php5,000.00 if one dies of natural causes. She saw the need for this, as the BHW often have to travel through unlit roads at night to tend to their constituents.

"Nais kong pag-usapan ang masakit na katotohanan ng BHW stipend," Gov. Marcos also shared, referring to the inconsistency of stipends received by health workers of the different barangays and localities.

She proposed the standardization of a quarterly stipend to be given to the workers, saying, "tulung-tulong na lang tayo, kasama ang barangay at ang probinsiya, at makapagbigay ng maayos at matiwasay na allowance para sa BHW... Huwag pahirapan ang tunay na mga "bannuar ti away"(heroes of rural areas) na BHW."

Mrs. Mildred Fernando, president of the BHW in Dingras, shared that being a health worker is "a really big commitment to our community. Commitment ang number one, yung kahit may mga gagawin ka, ibibigay mo talaga yung sarili mo para makapagsilbi." Fernando has already been serving as a BHW for 27 years.

She related stories of urgently sending out warnings to areas at risk during storm signals and having to wade or swim through floodwaters in order to reach constituents of their town, but nevertheless "we are enjoying our voluntary work in Ilocos Norte."

Furthermore, Gov. Marcos proposed that maintenance medicines be provided for free at the different rural health units (RHU), citing diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol as having become epidemics in the province. She plans through the PGIN and PHO to augment the cost of the medicines already partly funded by the Department of Health (DOG) so that constituents, especially those who cannot afford to buy their own medicines, can take continuous dosages.

PHO Officer-in-Charge Dr. Josephine Ruedas explained, "Mayroon kasing mga ibang pasyente na kapag naubusan na yung RHU, tinitigil na rin nila yung gamot, eh 'pag sinasabi nating 'maintenance,' dapat araw-araw iniinom 'yon."

She urges barangay residents to register their names at their respective RHU, "Dahil doon din naman kami kukuha ng listahan ng mga bibigyan ng gamot. Kailangan pa kasing ma-examine ng municipal health officer ang mga pasyente, hindi tulad ng over-the-counter drugs na pwede na lang ibigay."

At the RHU, patients undergo lipid profiling and kidney examinations to ensure that the maintenance medicines would be safe for them.

Gov. Marcos also announced that the health units' requested wheelchairs, pediatric wheelchairs, canes, and crutches have already been approved by the DOH and that they are simply awaiting the arrival of these equipment.