A female legislator has said the country’s current struggle with the dengue outbreak highlights the need to mandate the inclusion of health workers in every barangay to aid the Department of Health in its disease prevention and management efforts.
“The number of dengue cases, together with the other communicable and non-communicable diseases, continues to rise every year. Dengue cases, for example, have tripled this year compared to 93,200 cases last year,” said Laguna Rep. Sol Aragones, chairman of the House committee on women and gender equality.
Aragones made the statement as she pushed for the passage of House Bill 3511 or the Barangay Health Worker Act.
“If we want to win this battle against a national epidemic, we must start in the most basic unit of our society, and equip each barangay with health workers that can help the national government in addressing the continuous widespread of diseases,” added Aragones.
HB 3511 amends Section 287 of Republic Act 1760, or the Local Government Code of 1991, by mandating the presence of at least one health worker in every barangay to ensure that accessible and quality health services are available in the country’s over 42,000 barangays.
Aragones stressed that barangay health workers would provide the DOH with ready assets on the ground to help in the implementation of its community-based programs.
Citing recent data from the DoH, Aragones said a high of almost 15,000 new Dengue cases were recorded from July 28 to Aug. 3.
The agency has to date recorded 188,562 dengue cases in the country and have declared it a national epidemic.
She cited the apprehension of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III that dengue cases would reach 240,000 by the end of 2019.
According to the DoH, there are only 0.2 physicians and 0.4 nurses for every 10,000 Filipinos. These numbers are 10 times less than the recommended ratio set by the World Health Organization.
“Our barangay health workers can act as our first line of defense in the war against disease. I encourage my fellow legislators to consider supporting this measure as Dengue and other diseases pose a constant threat to the lives and welfare of all our constituents,” Aragones said.