Department of Health (DOH) – MIMAROPA (Oriental/Occidental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan) Regional Director Eduardo C. Janairo vows more support and benefits including the immediate implementation of significant reforms for the 13,000 strong Barangay Health Workers (BHWs) of the region during the First MIMAROPA BHW Regional Congress with the theme “Barangay Health Worker Kabalikat Tungo sa Kalusugan ng Lahat” attended by 200 municipal presidents and representatives held at the Citystate Tower Hotel in Ermita, Manila on April 18-19, 2017.
“It is about time to give our BHWs what is due to them, their benefits, incentives and more support from the government. Being the ‘real’ national heroes who voluntarily dedicated their life in the pursuit of providing primary health care in their community without expecting anything in return,” Janairo stated.
“BHWs have been well- defined as frontliners for health but have not been fully recognized in their effort and given full support from both local and national government for the past years. But with the solid resolve of the present administration to provide health for all, we can make their dreams and aspirations a reality”, he added.
According to Janairo, Php500,000 a year will be provided by the region for each provincial BHW federation for the next 2-3 years as operational fund in support for their expenses such as travel expenditures, support for patient’s expenses, conduct of workshops and trainings. “Additional Php100,000 will be given to each federation for every congress or convention that will be conducted.
Complete medical and hospitalization benefits will be afforded to each BHW member, including enrolment to Philhealth’s Point-of-Care Program and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office assistance. “You need not worry about anything to pay, the regional office will be giving you medical assistance,” he assured each BHW member.
Bicycles will again be distributed to deserving BHWs. Health apparatus such as stethoscope and blood pressure will be given provided a BHW has competence and well-trained in the use of these devices. All BHWs in the region are also undergoing various training on basic computer literacy to enhance their skill in the use of laptops, and computers where most of their report will be made.
“We will also implement the one-child full scholarship policy for all children of BHWs who wants to pursue a college degree”, Janairo emphasized.
Janairo also encouraged BHWs to create a proposal for income generating projects in their provinces which will be supported by the regional office with a funding of up to Php1 million. These plans will be evaluated by the regional office with regard to their sustainability and impact to support and improve the lives of BHWs. These ventures should be well designed to empower each federation to become independent, resourceful and self-reliant and will help break the cycle of being dependent of funds from the national government. It should also help members to earn their own income and uplift and improve their own lives.
“I encourage each BHW to give importance to every provision and assistance afforded to you because these provisions will not be enduring. But we will continue support you (BHWs) until you are qualified and self-sufficient,” Janairo assured.
Under the law, Republic Act 7883 also known as the “Barangay Health Workers’ Benefits and Incentives Act of 1995” outlines the benefits and incentives accredited to BHWs. It also recognizes their rights to organize themselves, to strengthen and systematize their services to their community; and to make a venue for sharing their experiences and for recommending policies and guidelines for the promotion, maintenance and advancement of their activities and services.
A BHW is a person who has undergone training programs under any accredited government and non-government organization and who voluntarily renders primary health care services in the community after having been accredited to function as such by the local health board in accordance with the guidelines promulgated by the DOH.