The Philippines is a third world country in Asia where poverty and corruption is very rampant. It encompasses poor health care facilities, infrastructures, government, employment, and majority of the people can’t afford to go to school. According SWS survey as of 2006, 52% of Filipinos said that they belong to the poor sector and according to Feud Art as of 2006 in Philippines by income class, low class (poor) represents 26.9% of the total population. This sector is usually deprived of their basic needs and necessities in life especially in health care. In fact majority of them suffer from different diseases and die of unknown reasons without having seen by a health care provider. In addition, most of them are uneducated and misinformed as they are the common victims of violence, social discrimination, immorality, and devious acts.
As health care professionals, we must act as an advocate for them through disseminating essential information and providing proper knowledge in order for them to become aware, correct misconceptions, to learn and practice health promotion towards independence to promote quality life. These interventions would help in truly making health in the hands of the people.
Community involvement is an integral part in making a program designed for the community a success. A community health nurse would perform ocular visitation, he or she would visit some areas in the community, conduct interviews and maybe even hand out surveys or ask for the masses’ opinions regarding the needs of the district. Upon collecting the data the community health care workers identify issues, prioritize and develop a plan to get the program started. A dilemma that the group has noticed while still in their college days is that when a community is being engaged to attend seminars, lectures and embody the program they lack the enthusiast and they fail to realize the utility of the plan and its benefit in their lives. What else can be done to entice the people to take more action?
With all the different plans and programs nursing schools and even the local government have for the community they become very dependent and just wait for the provisions that will be coming from these groups of health care facilitators. The goal of these groups is to help the community realize what they need and then together with the community health care team assigned in their area act upon those need. But in most cases the community lack the initiative to act on their own and that they have to be prodded and periodically checked to make sure that the program is being carried out. Another problem with this is that there are only a handful of people to supervise the community periodically, it is possible that because of this the people lose interest in the project there is no one to motivate them.
To make a plan spring into action there would be a need for some funding. It would be difficult for a project to start running without the budget. In the Philippine setting, sometimes it takes too long for a budget to be approved and it seems like health issues is not high on the government’s list of priority. Although lawmakers do make up programs for the poor however those programs are not enough and it is not reaching the people in far and hard to reach rural areas, with a budget that is minimal and manpower that is lacking, what can be done to address this issue? What else can the government do for the health of its people?
III. Guide Questions:
1. It is evident in the Philippine Health Care Delivery System that every barangay health center lacks health care professionals as well as medical supplies and equipments. We cannot deny the fact that in most barangay health centers, we seldom find nurses and doctors, and equipments and supplies are either lacking or insufficient. What can we do with this?
2. Training of midwives and the barangay health workers can greatly affect the quality of health care rendered to the community. What trainings/seminars/continuing education can you suggest?
3. Does community health nursing in the BSN curriculum of the Philippines really make the community independent, or does it make the community dependent because of the student nurses rotating in their communities every semester?
4. Low salience or no salience attitude of the community will make it impossible to foster changes if the community itself refuses to recognize the problem. How can we address the problem regarding “salience” as a hinder for community empowerment and in extension, community development?
5. Core groups are organized to address concerns of the people within their community. But most often than not, when the immersion has already ended, core groups will go dormant. Same is true with other barangay projects such as livelihood projects, herbolarium, among others. What can we do about this?
6. There are programs for the community people but sometimes they cannot participate not because they cannot go but because they are unaware that these programs exist. Information dissemination has posed a problem for nurses particularly for far-flung barangays where transportation is a major hindrance. How can we make sure that people get the information about all these health programs? What resources can we tap to pursue information dissemination?
7. How about the budget for health by the government? There is a budget but how can we make sure that the budget goes all the way at barangay levels?