|Photo credit: http://www.senate.gov.ph|
A national nurses advocacy group welcomed the statement of Senator Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV underscoring the need for public hospitals to employ more nurses and other skilled health professionals in order to address a requirement under the proposed reproductive health (RH) bill on maternal health care and skilled birth attendance.
Trillanes made the statement in light of the admission by Patricia Gomez, president of the Integrated Midwives Association of the Philippines (IMAP), during a Senate committee hearing that the average number of midwifery graduates every year would not be able to meet the required number of health workers under Section 5 of Senate Bill No. 2865.
Alvin Dakis, president & CEO of the Alliance of Young Nurse Leaders & Advocates (AYNLA), a national advocacy professional organization safeguarding the welfare of nurses, agreed that nurses are capable of providing maternal health provided under the Reproductive Health Bill. During the hearings at the Senate Committee on Health finalizing the draft of SB 2865 (Senate RH Bill), Dakis spearheaded to increase the scope of Section 5 to nurses who can also provide maternal care and service normal deliveries which was also supported by other leaders in the health professions.
This section provides that “the Local government units, with the assistance of the DOH [Department of Health], shall employ an adequate number of midwives and other skilled health professionals for maternal health care and skilled birth attendance to achieve a minimum ratio of one (1) fulltime equivalent skilled health professional for every one hundred fifty (150) deliveries per year.”
During the period of individual amendments for SBN 2865, Trillanes proposed to amend the said provision by allowing nurses to be deployed to public hospitals in order to satisfy the required number of health professionals.
“We can tap our nurses since we have large pool of nurses. More than this, they can cover not only reproductive health, but general health care in particular,” Trillanes said.
“Government hospitals are reported to have been experiencing shortage of nurses but the plantilla positions for nurses in public hospitals are never filled up,” Trillanes further explained during the period of individual amendments to SBN 2865.
“Nurses play a huge role in providing reproductive & sexual health needs of the Filipino people, and the passage of the RH Bill ensures that nurses as well as other health professionals be trained to properly handle these situation and be equipped with appropriate knowledge while providing care to these patients. Nurses supplement the need to provide maternal health care and are in the forefront in providing primary health care” Dakis said.
Trillanes believed that his proposed amendment would address the high unemployment rate among nurses in the country.