MANILA — Government will be spending some Php12.7 billion next year to set out 12,540 nurses, 5,749 midwives, 480 dentists and 398 doctors to underserved communities countrywide, Pasig City Rep. Roman Romulo said Sunday.
Romulo said the fresh funding for the deployment is contained in the P2.606-trillion General Appropriations Act for 2015, and will be coursed through the Department of Health.
“We are counting on the mobilization to improve the delivery of basic health services, while providing temporary employment plus training to our idle nurses and midwives,” said Romulo, chairman of the House committee on higher and technical education.
“We are also hopeful that the extra competence that our nurses and midwives will acquire from the deployment will later help them qualify for more rewarding jobs here or abroad,” he said.
Romulo said the additional staff will be assigned to public hospitals, barangay health stations, and rural health units.
The country has a large surplus of nursing and midwifery graduates desperately looking for opportunities to gainfully practice their profession, while many communities reel from inadequate essential health services, Romulo said.
“Many women in urban slums as well as rural villages suffer from the lack of health care during pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period,” he pointed out.
The Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) issued licenses to 22,202 new nurses and 2,494 midwives this year alone.
Just last week, some 30,000 nursing graduates, including repeaters, took the two-day Nursing Licensure Examination administered by the PRC.
Many nurses and midwives have been driven to perform all sorts of jobs, mostly in services, that have nothing to do with their profession, according to Romulo.
Meanwhile, Romulo wants Congress to restore to Salary Grade (SG) 15 –- the equivalent of Php24,887 — the entry-level basic monthly pay of public nurses.
The Nursing Law of 2002, or Republic Act 9173, pegged the starting pay of public nurses at SG 15, but the Salary Standardization Law III effectively downgraded their rating to SG 11, or Php18,549.