RN Heals 4 needs 22,500 nurses for 2013

RN Heals 4 needs 22,500 nurse for 2013The voice of Health Secretary Enrique T. Ona finally ended the deafening silence of the next batch, RN Heals 4. For today, he has revealed their proposed budget for 2013, part of it is designated for the next batch of RN Heals 4 (Registered Nurses for Health Enhancement and Local Service).

P 54.6 billion is the overall proposed budget for the Department of Health (DOH) along with its attached agencies to augment the integrated economic and development framework of Aquino administration focusing on poverty reduction and empowerment of the poor and vulnerable. As observed, the proposed budget for 2013 is about 25% higher than the approved budget from this year, 2012.

The Crucial P54.6 billion Proposed Budget

“It is imperative for us to support the proposed DOH 2013 budget in order to build on the health gains of 2010-2012 and continue the direct, immediate, and substantial health benefits for our people, especially the poor,” Health Secretary Enrique T. Ona said during the presentation made before the Senate Committee on Finance, headed by Senator Franklin Drilon.

Health is the top priority of the proposed budget with P 39.5 billion for the Office of the Secretary; P 304.5 million for the Commission on Population; P 327 million for the National Nutrition Council; P 13.5 billion for the Health Facilities Enhancement Program, lodged under the Priority Social and Economic Projects Fund; P 908 million for the specialty hospitals; and P 40 million for the Philippine Institute for Traditional and Alternative Health Care.

For an overview of the breakdown of the proposed 2013 budget, P12.6 billion is accounted for the subsidy for health insurance premium to guarantee successful enrolment of about 5.2 million indigent families to the Philippine Health Insurance System (PhilHealth). P13.5 billion will be under the Health Facilities Enhancement Program to be used for the improvement and modernization of selected barangay health stations, rural health units, and district, provincial and DOH-retained hospitals.

Allotted Budget for RN Heals 4

Finally, the most awaited is the P2.8 billion to be allocated to the Doctors within the Barrios and Rural Health Practice Program for the deployment of 22,500 RN Heals 4 (Registered Nurses for Health Enhancement and Local Service) batch and midwives to Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) areas and of course 221 medical doctors to doctor-less municipalities.

DOH Priorities

The major percentage of the proposed 2013 has been all about financing priority programs, activities and projects in support of KP (KalusuganPangkalahatan) which includes thePantawidPamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), education and housing. Some of its priority programs, activities and projects are as follows:

  1. Subsidy for Health Insurance Premium payment of indigent families to the National Health    Insurance Program
  2. Health Facilities Enhancement Program
  3. Implementation of the Doctors to the Barrios and Rural Health Practice Program
  4. Family Health including Responsible Parenting
  5. Expanded Program on Immunization
  6. National Pharmaceutical Policy Development including provision of drugs and medicines, medical and dental supplies to make affordable quality drugs available
  7. Tuberculosis Control
  8. Elimination of diseases as public health threats such as malaria, schistosomiasis, leprosy and filariasis
  9. Other infectious diseases and emerging diseases including HIV/AIDS, dengue, food and water-borne disease
    1. Rabies Control Program


While the remaining budget are allotted for the National Pharmaceutical Policy Development (including provision of drugs) with P1 billion overall budget to fully provide Complete Treatment Packages to 1,395 rural health units and 160 district hospitals in 4Ps municipalities.

Another is the proposed P1.9 billion budget for Expanded Program on Immunization to cover eligible children 0-11 months for BCG (Bacillus CalmetteGuarine), DPT (Diptheria Pertussis Tetanus), OPV (Oral Polio Vaccine), Hepatitis B, Measles, Tetanus Toxoid, Measles-Rubella, pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, and rotavirus. The cost of vaccines for indigent senior citizens (pneumococcal and influenza) is included under the Family Health and Responsible Parenting program.

The proposed budget for infectious diseases program on the other hand, will include the procurement of anti-TB drugs, anti-malarial drugs, anti-rabies vaccines, diagnostic kits, and insecticide-treated beds, among others.

A Promise of Universal Health Care for all Filipinos

“The proposed 2013 budget will put us closer to achieving our Millennium Development Goals and strengthen the Aquino administration’s promise of universal health care for all Filipinos,” Ona said.

Two critical pieces of legistlation to expect are namely, the tobacco and alcohol excise tax reform bill and the reproductive health (RH) bill for the sustainability of KP from one of Ona’s questions addressed to the Senate.

“Reforming the excise tax structure on alcohol and tobacco will discourage the consumption of tobacco and alcohol products, especially among the young and the poor. At the same time, the additional revenues earmarked for health will substantially improve how health care is being delivered in our country. The RH bill, when enacted, will contribute in improving maternal and child health,” Ona concluded.

To All The Nurses Out There

Let’s hope for a domino effect in regards with our health care delivery system and not let RN Heals 4 as only a palliative solution for the sickening problem of unemployment. Fingers crossed, Nurses.