Press Release
August 12, 2011


Senator Edgardo J. Angara strongly urged Department of Health Secretary David Ona to find immediate solutions to the growing unemployment of nursing graduates, which has already ballooned to 287,000.

"This is a pervasive misemployment and job mismatch," during the Development Budget Coordinating Council (DBCC) Meeting on Thur.

"In fact the current state of the nursing industry requires a rethink of the curriculum of the profession, as well as a reorientation of the parents. Everyone thinks that nursing is the most profitable investment in education, I think that's no longer true", says Angara, who sits as vice-chair of the Senate Committee on Finance and Chair of the Committee on Education, Arts and Culture.

Explaining the issue in the hearing, DOH Secretary Enrique Ona says that the current patient to nurse ratio in the country is 1:30, while the internationally accepted standard for quality care is only 1:10. The DOH further explained that one of the projects they have initiated to address this concern is the RN Heals Program, which fields nurses to far-flung baranggays in the country to improve access to health services.

"But that's very minimal numbers, that's only 6, 000, whereas we are dealing with hundreds of thousands, when we ought to keep and employ this valuable human resource," Sen. Angara stressed.

"By filling up the plantilla of government and employing these nurses, we will be able to bridge this gap, instead of allowing our talented nurses to work in professions they were not trained to do", says Angara.

Another option Angara suggests is a best-practice being carried out in the province of Aurora, where the public contributes funds for a six-month period. The fund then employs nurses of the community to go to the barrios and do community service.

During the DBCC hearing, Angara, a known advocate of science and technology, also presented to the body the need for increased budgetary allocation for research and development, particularly for emerging diseases, medicinal technology advancements, and the development of new drugs.

According to Ona, the current budget allocation for R&D is only at P34 Million.

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