“Bilang public health nurses, kayo ay nangunguna sa pagbuo natin ng healthy settings and environment. You serve as the frontliners in the implementation of both individual and population-based health services, projects, and activities that the LGUs and DOH spearhead. For this, we are grateful for your support and steadfast commitment to improving the health outcomes among Filipinos,” said Dept ofHealth Officer-in-Charge Dr. Maria Rosario Singh-Vergeire.
The National Association of Public Health Nurses Inc. (NAPHN), in collaboration with the UP College of Nursing, held its 1st General Assembly and National Convention on April 28, 2023, at the UPCN Auditorium.
With the theme "Positioning Public Health Nursing in Implementing Universal Health Care in the Philippines" the event brought together nurses from various sectors nationwide to discuss and explore strategies to strengthen the role of public health nurses in the implementation of the country's health care reforms toward universal health care.
“Bilang public health nurses, kayo ay nangunguna sa pagbuo natin ng healthy settings and environment. You serve as the frontliners in the implementation of both individual and population-based health services, projects, and activities that the LGUs and DOH spearhead. For this, we are grateful for your support and steadfast commitment to improving the health outcomes among Filipinos,” said Dept of Health Officer-in-Charge Dr. Maria Rosario Singh-Vergeire.
Dr. Vergeire discussed plans and strategies to strengthen the capacities of public health nurses as leaders of local health systems and public health experts. Among these were the provision of local and international scholarships and capacity building initiatives to equip them with needed skills and knowledge to lead the health system and increased nurses' salaries and benefits.
For her part, UPCN Dean Sheila Bonito emphasized the importance of integrating primary health care principles into the nursing curriculum, advancing public health nursing, and orienting healthcare professionals towards primary health care. She also highlighted the need to ensure that nursing graduates possess the competencies required for delivering primary health care.
Ms. Windalyn Baluis, DOH Region V program manager for Mental Health and Lifestyle Related Diseases, acknowledged that among the HRH, nurses have the most adequate supply production, however, the major concern lies in the disproportional distribution of our nurses, particularly in geographically isolated and depressed areas. The nurse-to-population ratio ranges from 48.2 to 58.1 per ten thousand, which does not meet the World Health Organization's indicative threshold of 27.4. However, our density draft reveals that the highest concentration of health professionals, including nurses, is in the National Capital Region, while the lowest is in Region IV-A (Mimaropa) at 29.12 per ten thousand population. This has significant implications on our public health nurse services.
Prof. Erlinda Palaganas, NAPHN vice president, emphasized that universal health care goes beyond providing medical services; it requires a comprehensive approach that addresses the social determinants of health, promotes health literacy, and encourages active participation in decision-making. By placing health in the hands of the people, universal health care becomes a collaborative effort that fosters empowerment, ownership, and ultimately, better health outcomes for all. She asserted that the curriculum is not the reason behind the departure of nurses to other countries but the low salary, lack of job security, inadequate benefits, and working conditions.
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