The Communications Roadshow for April 2012 continues with a visit to the Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital (CLMMRH) of Bacolod City.
“It’s a win-win situation—for us and for the people,” Vincent Paul Pido told the OPS-PCDSPO staff after the Communications Roadshow visit to RN Heals nurses Wednesday afternoon. “Sa amin—dahil we get to practice our profession and get paid for it. We get to help our family. Sa society—sa hospital na ‘to, we get to serve hindi lang sa city, kundi sa buong province. Marami kaming patients na natutulungan.” He then echoed the core of the dialogue: Much change has been made, but there is much that still needs to be done. “Nandito na nga kami, kulang pa. What more kung walang RN Heals?”
Registered Nurses for Health Enhancement and Local Service (RN Heals) is a program of the Department of Health (DOH) that aims to make essential health services available to more Filipinos. Ten thousand (10,000) unemployed nurses are deployed to rural and unserved or underserved communities, and the program, so far, has helped address the shortage of skilled and experienced nurses—Vincent Paul Pido among them—in areas predetermined by DOH and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). Pido, along with 220 other nurses part of RN Heals as well as members of the CLMMRH staff and its officials, met with the Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda and the Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte on Wednesday, as part of the Communications Roadshow leg in Bacolod City.
In the easy atmosphere that characterizes the OPS-PCDSPO roadshows, the group freely discussed the changes in the locality since the program’s implementation, the differences the program has made in the lives of everyone involved in it, and the avenues for improvement on the horizon. The nurses, despite the demands of their schedules, animatedly shared with Secretary Lacierda and Undersecretary Valte their experiences with the program.
“We were very happy and thankful with RNHeals kasi we were volunteers for a long time,” Pido said. “Nagkakaroon talaga ng problema sa pera. Pero noong nagkaroon ng opportunity na tulad [ng RN Heals]—na compensated ang work namin, malaking tulong talaga.” And despite the great difference in wages between local nurses and those abroad, the returns, Pido stated, are significant: “You are with the people that you love. And at the same time, you get to help and make a change.”
In the dialogue, Pido and his fellow nurses shared a vision of universal healthcare for the country, one that echoes the Aquino Health Agenda—“the implementation of a universal health care system shall ensure the achievement of a better, sustained, and responsive health system by guaranteeing equitable access to affordable health care for all Filipinos.” And the RN Heals project, since its establishment, remains a crucial element to the success of the ongoing systemic reform of the health sector.
“We all need healthcare,” Pido said. “Okay lang siguro sa mayayaman because they can afford it. Pero sa general public, we really have to have a healthcare system na—alam mo ‘yun, nag-aalala ka na nga sa sakit mo, mag-aalala ka pa sa titingin o gagamot sa’yo, sa ipambabayad mo sa kanila.” Indeed, coinciding with the OPS-PCDSPO visit to the RN Heals nurses, the DOH announced that the Department of Justice (DOJ), in coordination with the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), has authorized the Aquino administration to use P8.3 billion to fully subsidize the PhilHealth premiums of indigent patients.
At the close of the visit, as Secretary Lacierda and Undersecretary Valte shared more stories with the RN Heals nurses, Pido said, “I am thankful that your office spent time with us, listen to us, kahit malayo. This shows that the focus of the government is not only in Luzon. It’s a good indication of the mentality of this government.”
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