The Department of Health (DOH)-MIMAROPA (Oriental/Occidental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan) and its 20 midwife grantees who passed the 2016 Midwifery Licensure Examination sealed a “Return of Service Agreement” during their oath-taking ceremony held at Citystate Hotel in Malate, Manila on Monday.
DOH-MIMAROPA Regional Director Dr. Eduardo C. Janairo led the contract signing with the new midwives from the five island MIMAROPA provinces.
Director Janairo said that under the “Return of Service Agreement,” the grantees agree and commit to render free services in MIMAROPA provinces for the first two months and will receive stipend for the next four succeeding months under the Human Resource Augmentation Program (HRAP) or Rural Health Midwife Program (RHMPP).
“These licensed midwives will ensure access of basic health services, most especially in disadvantaged and underserved community where they are assigned,” Dr. Janairo said.
“Their role in health assessment, monitoring and evaluating the status of a patient is vital in the facilitation of proper diagnosis for the rural physician in addition to their effective competency in health promotion, health education and advocacy which provides beneficial information to the community,” he added.
The rendering of service will be without pay for two months to the government entity that the grantor represents commencing from June 1, 2016 to July 31, 2016.
The program was the first of its kind in the MIMAROPA Region with the main goal to reduce health inequities wherein they want the said licensed midwives to be the ones who will penetrate deeply into the hard-to-reach areas to deliver health services needed not only to ensure safe deliveries of pregnant mothers but also as health workers that can render services in providing healthcare for other members of the community.
“These grantees are actually those midwives who are already in the field and working there for a long time but are not able to pass or take the Board exam due to some barriers like financial conditions,” Janairo said in an interview with the Philippines News Agency.
“Dahil sa dinami-dami ng graduates ng midwifery (sa Pilipinas), di naman sila nagpupunta doon sa indigenous people at sa malalayong lugar… Kaya it’s about time na tulungan natin itong mga midwives natin na nakapasa at naka-graduate naman pero di nakakuha ng Board exam,” the Regional Director said as he recalled what prompted their desire to conceptualize and pushed with the DOH-MIMAROPA Midwifery Review and Licensure Examination Grant Program.
He said he is hopeful that the new administration will also consider to replicate the same initiatives in other areas of the country with similar geographical features and situations that serve as barriers to healthcare delivery.
A total of 30 scholars for review were selected under the scholarship program but only 20 of them passed the examination last April 20.
Meanwhile, Director Janairo said they will still facilitate another set of review for the other 10 midwifery graduates not able to make it so that they can also be absorbed by the system and will be of help in places where they are familiar and their families are also staying.
Prior to their oath-taking, the new midwives were oriented further on their role as midwives by Registered Midwife Morena Espiritu Catama, Midwife VI, DOH-MIMAROPA Field Health Operations.
They also shared some common struggles they had endured as they took the review and how they overcame them.
Most of them said that they were thankful for the opportunity to take the Board exam. They added that they were not able to take the exam for a long time because most of them already have their own families and cannot prioritize its taking because that will be costly on their part.
According to Anna Birtha L. Datinguinoo, DOH-MIMAROPA Head of Field Health Operations, the grants on scholarship review include cost of tuition, dormitory fees, allowance, Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) application, oath- taking and other related expenses.
All of the grantees expressed thanks for the program and promised to deliver what is expected of them once they go back through the “Return of Service” contract.
According to Dr. Janairo, the grant applies to residents of MIMAROPA only.
The potential grantee must be a graduate of a midwifery course, hails from a Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Area (GIDA) or IP Community, and/or preferably an IP under-board midwife. The Provincial DOH Offices screen and recommend grantees to the regional office.