Wednesday, July 20, 2016
Hontiveros Files Six Health Bills in 15 Days
Barangay health workers with no health insurance? That will soon change.
Keeping true to her campaign promise, Senator Risa Hontiveros has filed six essential bills within her platform of universal healthcare, fifteen days in on her first term.
One of her priority bills is the proposed legislation seeking PhP 6,000.00 as basic wage for barangay health workers or BHWs. Senate Bill No. 214 also seeks to provide training and accreditation to BHWs, currently serving in a volunteer basis.
“Barangay health workers aid the community in primary care like maternal and childcare and health education,” said Hontiveros. “But they are not given enough training and compensation for their service”, she added.
Having gone around the campaign trail, Hontiveros recalled her conversations with BHWs. She cited the case of numerous BHWs not being covered by PhilHealth. Hontiveros also served as PhilHealth director until October last year
“It’s a sad situation when health workers themselves are not insured of their health”, said Hontiveros. “Senate Bill No. 214 seeks to remedy that”, she added. Her bill seeks to provide BHWs with PHilHealth, GSIS and Pag-Ibig benefits.
According to latest data, there are 219,433 active BHWs in the country spread out in 42,000 barangays. The former PhilHealth Director sees the numbers as an opportunity: “The BHWs are or first responders. Imagine if we enhance their skills through more trainings”, she argued. The said bill promises a six-month Community Health Worker Education and Program to produce skilled medical professionals.
Hontiveros seeks counterpart funding from the national government to augment the support to BHWs given by local government units.
In addition to her bill on BHWs, Hontiveros also proposed legislations on the extension of maternity leave, strengthening of the HIV-AIDS law and the anti-hospital deposit law, establishment of the National Health Promotion Institute and providing mandatory PhilHealth coverage for persons with disabilities.