Manila, Philippines – A national nurses group strongly supports the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill pending in Congress as one of its core messages for the International Nurses Day in the Philippines which was celebrated worldwide every May 12.
The Alliance of Young Nurse Leaders & Advocates International Inc. (AYNLA) National President Alvin Cloyd Dakis stressed the importance of a national comprehensive reproductive health law in the country to address the alarming maternal deaths, huge number of clandestine abortions and rising cases of HIV in the country and the vital role of nurses addressing these issues.
Dakis believes that the RH Bill can address many issues in reproductive & sexual health and make RH services, information and education accessible to the poor, young people and the marginalized. “We have seen the importance of the RH Bill to our patients & we know that in different communities, RH services are much needed especially in educating them and providing them options for their families. It is our mandated duty to care for all of them & teach them what they needed for their health.” Dakis said.
International Nurses Day
The International Nurses Day is celebrated annually every May 12 in commemoration of the birth of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing. In some countries, they continue to celebrate for a whole week. This year, the International Nurses’ Day’s theme is “Closing the Gap: Increasing Access & Equity” where the International Council of Nurses (ICN) made a statement that where health services are not publicly funded, the government has the responsibility to ensure accessible health services to vulnerable groups.
AYNLA celebrated with the rest of the world in this year’s International Nurses Day by making an online awareness campaign of the event through Facebook and Twitter. “We had some celebrities & personalities take photos with a slogan ‘I Love Nurses, Happy Nurses Day!’ then we posted their photos in our website and Facebook page so that our nurses can see that these celebrities & personalities took time to greet & support them. In twitter, many personalities retweeted our greetings too”.
Many known personalities greeted & gave their support to Filipino nurses celebrating the International Nurses Day among them who greeted in Twitter are Ces Drilon, Camille Pratts, Agot Isidro, Gang Badoy, Gloc-9, Kat De Castro, Howie Severino, Princess Manzon & Tom Rodriguez, Leah Navarro, Mariz Umali and K Brosas. Some personalities who had their photos taken greeting the nurses were Jim Paredes, Pia Archangel, Tuesday Vargas, Carlos Celdran, Tintin Bersola-Babao and Lea Salonga.
Public officials and politicians also greeted nurses online among them are Former Reps. Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel and Ruffy Biazon, Reps. Kaka Bag-ao, Janette Garin and Edcel Lagman, Senator Bongbong Marcos and former President Fidel V. Ramos. In his facebook page Sen. Marcos gave his support to nurses and said “This noble profession deserves all the attention & assistance of government. I am committed to assist them in every way I can.”
The Nursing Crisis & Role of Nurses in RH
Early this January, the Senate called for an inquiry of the alleged exploitation done to nurses where they have to pay fees in exchange of their volunteer work in the hospitals. This alleged exploitation exposed what some hospitals have been doing to many hopeful, unemployed nurses in the country. Several campaigns in media and political lobbying have been done to address the growing “overpopulation” of nurses. Dakis said “there is still ongoing lobbying & inquiries in both Houses over the issue, it is quite alarming that many of our professional nurses are going through this. Our lawmakers are doing what they can.” Meanwhile the DOH created a fact-finding team to investigate on the issue.
“We have a lot of nurses who are unemployed in the country but we have a lot of health concerns to address, which we believe we can contribute a lot – like the much talked about reproductive health” said Reigner Jireh Antiquera, AYNLA’s Vice Chairperson. Antiquera saw the importance of mobilizing our vast health human resources to help in providing services for reproductive health such as health education, counseling, HIV treatment care & support, and various RH services.
AYNLA is so far the most vocal nursing organization to have supported the passage of the RH Bill in Congress. For Dakis, it is essential for nurses to provide what their patients need and give them all the options they have for their health. By educating them through appropriate information “we can make our patients the ‘Managers of their own health’ and be empowered in their choices” he said.
AYNLA International Inc. is a national nursing organization for nurse advocates and young professionals & students with over 2,000 members and 30 Local Chapters across the country. AYNLA also have international members in the USA, Canada and the Middle East.