GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/22 February) – The Department of Health (DOH) is set to deploy some 80 nurses to several remote and poor communities in South Cotabato this year as part of the third phase of the continuing Registered Nurses for Health Enhancement and Local Service or RNheals-3 project.
Gov. Arthur Pingoy Jr. said the DOH Center for Health Development in Region 12 has started the recruitment process for the RNheals-3 nurses to facilitate their scheduled deployment by next month to selected villages and communities within the province’s 10 towns and lone city.
He said hundreds of applicants, who were mostly composed of unemployed new licensed nurses from the province, trooped to the provincial capitol compound in Koronadal City Tuesday to undergo the initial examination and screening for the program.
Pingoy said the local government is fully supporting the program’s implementation due to its impact on the delivery of basic health services and the employment opportunity that it offers to unemployed nurses in the area.
“It gives our unemployed nurses a unique chance to be exposed and gain experience working or serving in our poor communities and at the same time get proper compensation for their services,” he said.
Under the program, the hired nurses will be deployed in their assigned communities on a contractual basis for one year.
Pingoy said the national government will provide them a stipend of P8,000 and an additional allowance of P2,000 from the local government every month.
The program’s beneficiaries will also be provided with PhilHealth (Philippine Health Insurance Corporation) insurance and group accident insurance enrolment worth P1,200 and P500, respectively, a project briefer noted.
The DOH announced last month that it would train and deploy 10,000 nurses for RNheals-3, which is supported by the departments of Labor and Employment, Social Welfare and Development, Philippine Regulations Commission-Board of Nursing and the Philippine Nurses Association.
The program was launched by the national government last year to deal with the shortage of skilled and experienced nurses in unserved or underserved communities in the country and address the oversupply of nurses in Metro Manila and other urban areas.
Meantime, Pingoy said the provincial government has scrapped nursing from the list of degree programs that may be pursued by prospective beneficiaries of its Kabugwason-Paglaum Scholarship Program starting this year.
He said move was mainly aimed at addressing the present glut of unemployed licensed nurses and nursing graduates from the area.
Pingoy said it is in line with the Commission on Higher Education’s earlier directive to colleges and universities nationwide that sets a moratorium on the offering of nursing degrees.
“Right now, we have 150 licensed nurses who were rendering volunteer services at the provincial hospital and receiving a meager P1,000 monthly allowances from the provincial government because they could not get a stable job elsewhere,” the governor said.
Pingoy added that the scholarship program will instead focus on degrees or courses that complements the requirements of various industries and other employment generators in the area. (Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)