DOH aims to increase health human resources in 2016

By , on September 12, 2015

DOH Secretary Janette Garin (PNA Photo)
DOH Secretary Janette Garin (PNA Photo)

MANILA – The Department of Health (DOH) is targeting to increase the government’s human resources for health in 2016 to further improve the delivery of health services nationwide.

According to DOH Secretary Janette L. Garin, they want to raise the present number of government doctors deployed in the rural areas, particularly in “doctor-less” municipalities, to serve as Universal Health Care implementers in the local government units (LGUs).

The Health chief disclosed this during her presentation of the proposed 2016 budget of the DOH and its attached agencies before the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations on Wednesday.

“For human resources for health, specifically for the training of additional human resources for health, the increase in allocation which, I think is responsible for more than 40 percent increase in our proposed budget, will actually be to increase the number of doctors deployed from 398 to 1,051 to fulfill the total actual need by doctor-less municipalities,” Secretary Garin said in her budget presentation.

She added that such increase is in response to observation that many Rural Health Units (RHUs), especially in the fourth, fifth and sixth class municipalities in the country, are actually “doctor-less” because of the law on devolution which required the LGUs to pay for the salaries of doctors.

With the “devolved” system, most doctors, nurses and other health workers were forced to work on job-order basis, “providing health care and services” but receiving no benefits.

With that sad plight, some health workers were prompted to seek other jobs such as call centers agents, creating job mismatch, while others were enticed to look for greener pastures overseas.

Dr. Garin said that under the proposed budget, doctors in the fourth, fifth and sixth class municipalities will be hired by the national government and actually funded by DOH in 2016.

She also said that part of their major activities next year will be increasing the number of deployed nurses from 13,500 to 15,727 by 2016.

“And the number of dentists that we have deployed will be actually increased from 214 to 324,” she added.

She explained that the new line items in the budget with regards to human resource will actually be sustaining the deployment of 3,100 midwives and 308 medical technologists in the rural areas where poor municipalities cannot afford to hire a medical technologist and the DOH has to provide the infrastructure and equipment for priority laboratories.

The Health chief said that the increase in the budget will also allow the hiring of 713 public health associates.

A total of PhP126 billion budget is requested by the DOH for the fiscal year 2016 to continue sustaining its different regular and existing programs and operations of its different attached agencies, attached corporations and corporate hospitals.

The DOH is part of the human development poverty reduction cluster which actually contributes on the role of inclusive growth and poverty reduction.

The agency aims to bring better health status among the population through improved financial protection and responsive health system as promised under the UHC agenda of the Aquino government in 2010.

In fulfilling the still unmet gaps, the DOH is pushing for a higher budget so that the ideal ratio of doctors and health workers to the number of people needed to be served is put in place while also aiming to improve the services through the hospital enhancement facility program