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PIA Press Release
2009/10/21

Cebu benefits from PGMA's NARS Project

Cebu City (21 October) -- Almost all towns in Cebu have benefited from the Project NARS (Nurses Assigned in Rural Service) of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo basically aimed at improving the delivery of basic health care services in poor towns throughout the country.

Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE-7) Assistant Regional Director Exequiel Sarcauga said that for Central Visayas, 450 nurses representing the second batch were newly hired under the project

"The 450 nurses have started their training this week and they will soon be deployed to various municipalities across the region," Sarcauga bared.

The project is in line with the pump priming strategies under the Economic Resiliency Plan of the Arroyo Administration to mitigate the impact of the global economic crisis.

In response to the global financial meltdown that started late last year where jobs cuts were on the rise, Pres. Arroyo tasked the DOLE to be on top of the Comprehensive Livelihood Emergency Employment Program (CLEEP) which provides temporary jobs to displaced workers affected by the worldwide economic crunch. Project NARS falls under the CLEEP providing temporary employment good for six months to inexperienced and displaced nurses affected by the crisis, this is learned.

Lourdes Tudlasan, Project NARS program coordinator of the Department of Health (DOH-7) said the project's main objective is to deploy 5,000 nurses to 1,000 poorest municipalities in the country.

Since the project was launched by the President early this year, Tudlasan said it was able to provide employment to 748 nurses where the first batch deployed 298 nurses to 72 poor towns in the region. The first batch started work in April and ended last month as the second batch of 450 nurses will start as soon as they finish their training while their contract is expected to expire by middle of April next year.

For the second batch, the 450 nurses will be deployed to 90 towns in the four province of Central Visayas, this is said.

The nurses under the project will receive a stipend of P8,000 per month while Sarcauga also urged local government units to also augment the monthly allowance given by the national government.

"We are encouraging LGUs to give P2,000 additional monthly allowance but to those that cannot afford, they may give something in kind since this is not mandatory," Sarcauga stressed.

Sarcauga said that the stipend of the 450 nurses alone reached P21M.

Cebu on the other hand, got the biggest share of the nurse trainees for both batches. Out of the 298 nurse trainees under the first batch, Cebu got 155 nurses and were deployed to 31 towns and eight hospitals, Tudlasan revealed.

For the second batch, out of the 450 nurses, Cebu's share was 119 nurse trainees for deployment to 38 towns, the DOH-7 program coordinator of the Project NARS disclosed.

Almost all 47 municipalities in Cebu Province benefited from the project except for a few towns that form part of Metro Cebu as well as the big cities that are not classified as being poor, it is said.

Tudlasan said the project has been a big help in improving the delivery of basic health services especially in the far flung towns.

'Imagine, there are only two nurses assigned per municipality while the ratio per nurse to client is 1:10. An additional nurse to help and complement the delivery of basic health services such as immunizing children and mothers in the rural health units or public hospitals is undoubtedly a big help," Tudlasan remarked.

Apart from improving the provision of basic health services and providing temporary employment, the project also enhances the nurse trainees' capability and capacity to provide quality nursing and health care and thus, increase their employability.

The nurse trainees are also deployed in public schools identified by the Dep Ed where they educate the schoolchildren on proper nutrition and hygiene practices as well as inform mothers on maternal health programs of the government among others

Project NARS is a training cum deployment project implemented by DOLE, DOH, Dep Ed, and the Professional Regulations Commission. (PIA-Cebu/FCR) [top]

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