Press Release
October 10, 2010


Senator Edgardo J. Angara is set to meet again with leaders of the nursing profession to find a solution for the lack of job opportunities for nurses in the Philippines and the apparent deterioration in the quality of nursing education.

"I have tasked the Congressional Commission on Science Technology and Engineering and the UP Law Center to help in finding innovative solutions to these problems," said Angara, who Chairs COMSTE.

COMSTE Executive Director Dr. Gregory Tangonan will present the initiatives that the Commission members have discussed, including the tapping nurses for the expansion of the National Telehealth Program, while the UP Law Center will present a draft of a bill entitled Community Health Delivery and Health Team Placement Act.

Nursing Solution

In response to the problems of the nursing profession, the office of Senator Angara through support from COMSTE is supporting the expansion of the National Telehealth Program which aims to deploy telehealth nurses in doctor-less, remote, underserved areas of the country. This proposal already has a PHP100 Million allocation in the 2009 and 2010 GAA, which was facilitated by Sen. Angara.

Equipped with the technology, capacity, and mandate, these telehealth nurses will ensure that all patients in these remote underserved areas receive the best care possible through the appropriate use of technology. The Telehealth Nurses will be trained on how to use a mobile phone to keep patient records and to refer cases via telemedicine to the nearest provincial or regional hospital. For specially difficult cases, they will be referred to UP Manila National Telehealth Center which has access to all the specialties in the Philippine General Hospital. The telemedicine program has been running for the past five years through the DOH doctors-to-the-barrios program. It can now be deployed to doctor-less municipalities around the country.

Angara said that it is envisioned that with the deployment of the telehealth nurses, it will enable our countrymen who have previously suffered from not being able to consult a doctor full access to the services which they direly need.

Project NARS

"This idle manpower in healthcare must be utilized in order to help alleviate the lack of appropriate healthcare personnel communities outside of major cities. We are looking at a project that would train and deploy nurses that would help address the situation," said Angara.

According to World Health Organization (WHO) standards, the ideal ratio is 1 health worker for every 1,000 population, but in Region I the ratio is a disproportionate 190 per 100,000 people.

Project NARS (Nurses Assigned in Rural Schools), which ended last April, aimed to provide the necessary healthcare to schools in distant communities. A total of 11,085 nurses were deployed all over the country and provided a short-term solution for nurse unemployment issues.

Angara stated that, "we have seen the successful implementation for Project NARS, but we need to come up with an innovative, long term solution to aid in bringing healthcare to outlying communities and also provide jobs for our nurses."

Sen. Angara instructed COMSTE to look into possible legislation that would institutionalize the funding of health projects as well as finding alternative funding through Public-Private Partnerships (PPP's), which would free the healthcare industry from having to rely solely on government subsidy.

News Latest News Feed