Press Release
April 26, 2011

Legarda: More Barangay Health Workers, Less Diseases

Senator Loren Legarda today reiterated her call for the provision of health workers in every barangay in the country to strengthen community defense against sicknesses especially during summer when higher temperatures cause the surge of diseases.

Legarda noted that during summer, people, especially children, are more prone to acquiring diseases such as sore eyes, measles, dengue, malaria and water-borne diseases including typhoid, diarrhea and cholera.

"These diseases may not cause alarm to residents of cities and urban areas because they have immediate access to hospitals and can easily obtain the needed medication. However, the situation is different for those living in rural and far-flung areas where access to hospitals, medical workers, and medicines is always a crisis at hand," the Senator explained.

"In fact, a simple diarrhea can even cause death and can spread throughout the community with the lack of proper medical services and health education as what had happened in Palawan where at least 19 people died of diarrhea in the past month," she added.

In this regard, Legarda pushed for the immediate passage of Senate Bill 1384, which seeks to mandate the Department of Health to provide at least one health worker in every barangay whose monthly salary must be equivalent to Salary Grade 10 and shall be entitled to Christmas bonus, in addition to all the benefits granted to other barangay employees within their city or municipality.

This bill is supported by another proposed measure under Senate Bill 1340 that would provide adequate health insurance program for barangay health workers.

"The job of barangay health workers is crucial to the nation's health care delivery system. Mass vaccination, family planning lessons, the monitoring of disease outbreaks, the dissemination of health information and the posting of health advisory bulletins and many other things are now part of the duties of barangay health workers," she pointed out.

"It is essential that we have health workers in every barangay because poor Filipinos deserve to be administered affordable and accessible healthcare. In the same way, our barangay health workers, the State's primary health care protectors, deserve to be armored with just compensation and an adequate health insurance program," Legarda concluded.

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