Eastern Samar BHWs convene; Gov. Evardone releases cash allowances
Borongan, Eastern Samar (30 October) -- The Provincial Confederation of Barangay Health Workers of Eastern Samar convened for the second time since its establishment a couple of years ago to strengthen its delivery basic health services to communities at Eastern Samar Comprehensive National High School, this town.
The convention, participated by around 3,000 BHWs from the 597 barangays of the province, was focused on improving barangay campaign on healthy lifestyle and hygiene to address the rising cases of illnesses and even deaths that are related to poor lifestyle and hygiene.
Governor Ben P. Evardone, the gathering’s keynote speaker, said that he is bent on empowering more the BHWs being the frontliners in the delivery of basic health services. He said that the health volunteers in the barangay are serving as partners of the province in maintaining health in the communities.
The provincial chief hailed the volunteers for sacrifices they are rendering despite the risks they face in the function of their duties. "Even today, you have left your respective families, livelihoods and other activities just to attend to this biggest health volunteers gathering in the province," Evardone addressed the crowd in dialect. "Your attendance to this (provincial) convention only shows your dedication," he continued.
"I understand that your work as BHWs is not that easy especially that you are not being paid and you are not employees of the government," he stressed, "You are volunteers."
The governor, in his message, said that the province is being pro-active particularly in the care of the BHWs despite the meager resources. "There are a lot of laws that exist supposedly to provide wide-array of benefits for BHWs but apparently, most, if not all, just subsist in writing," the governor remarked.
Among the benefits that BHWs should be receiving as provided for in the Philippine laws are subsistence allowance, hazard allowance, continuing education, scholarship benefits to one of their children and special training programs.
"Good if these are all being provided by the government but these are just real in papers," Evardone said.
For his part, the governor ordered the immediate release of the cash allowances he allocated for the health workers for this year pegged at P1,200 each for this year. "We are providing this for the trained, registered and accredited BHWs as a way of thanking you for the efforts you are exerting," he said.
Initially, the provincial government released half of the amount to all BHWs and the other half will be out prior to the end of 2009.
The governor meanwhile revealed that the province is improving its health services delivery. "The province currently is focused on its zero maternal death campaign and we were able to gather funds for this program," he said. Evardone announced that the province was able to solicit some P500 million from European Commission, DOH and other agencies and much of these are already being implemented through the development of the hospitals in the province.
He stressed that other than hospital upgrading, some of the funds will also be used for the construction of barangay health stations in particularly in far-flung areas that have difficult access to hospitals and Rural Health Units. "This is to ensure that those who are in these far places will still be attended to in terms of health services," Evardone said.
The governor also disclosed that the province will be slicing a fund from the Provincial Health Investment Plan for the procurement of BHW kit which include thermometers, blood pressure apparatus, weighing scale and height chart. "This is important because they serve as your weapon when you are in the field," Evardone said. (ESamarPGO/PIA) [top]