Manila, Philippines – A national nurses organization reminded President Benigno Aquino III to prioritize the health of the Filipinos and the welfare of the health human workforce who is about to deliver his State of the Nation Address (SONA) tomorrow.
The Alliance of Young Nurse Leaders & Advocates (AYNLA)
encouraged the President to think about the welfare of Filipino nurses and other health professionals who are experiencing “professional poverty” like growing unemployment and underemployment while the Philippine public health suffers from lack of trained health professionals to attend the health needs of the people.
AYNLA National President Alvin Dakis called on the President to be more vigilant in creating more long-term and sustainable programs for health professionals who are currently unemployed. “Nurses alone have a growing massive 287,007 unemployed professionals and soon to be added by around another 30,000 new nurses from the July 2011 Nursing Board Exams” Dakis said.
More sustainable programs
“The current program of the government to alleviate the nursing unemployment crisis is only a stopgap but does not address sustainability. We want long-term programs” Dakis said, pertaining to the current DOH-led program RN HEALS (Registered Nurses for Health Enhancement And Local Service) which deployed 10,000 new nurses to local areas which were underserved. This program according to Dakis is a similar program done by the previous government only with extended length of service but has the same structure as its predecessor, the NARS program.
AYNLA said that if the Aquino government is serious in helping the nursing unemployment crisis, the President would create a more sustainable government program to address the crisis and note settle on a stopgap program. AYNLA strongly recommends the government to approve the DOH’s Rationalization Plan which aims to increase the number of ‘plantilla’ positions of nurses in government hospitals and centers, follow the Philippine Nursing Law which states that entry level nurses in government service should be given a Salary Grade 15 instead of the currently practiced SG 11.
Prioritize health of people
Addressing the health professionals’ unemployment crisis also addresses the dire need of the Filipinos for quality healthcare services as more health professionals get employed to serve more underserved localities. Dakis said that the President should prioritize the health of the people and to address health needs by prioritizing health bills such as the Reproductive Health Bill which aims to solve reproductive health concerns of the people and by increasing the number of trained health professionals like nurses and midwives to serve in the locals.