IN the countryside, where majority of the poor work and live, many people still die without seeing a medical doctor.
This is certainly one of the cruelest ironies of our time since the Philippines is a major source of quality health workers.
That’s why government plans to slash the number of rural doctors, nurses and dentists now worry the Filipino people.
“In military terms, we’re pulling out a battalion of doctors and a division of nurses from the war against diseases and from the campaign for wellness,” said Senate Minority Leader Ralph Recto.
Recto said the government, through the Department of Health (DoH), is slashing the number of rural doctors by half and nurses by one-third, according to the senator from Batangas.
Under the DoH’s “Doctor to the Barrios Program,” the number of physicians assigned to low-income municipalities will go down from 946 this year to only 435 next year.
And from 15,727 this year, the number of nurses will be reduced to just 9,349 in 2017.
The number of DoH-paid dentists who will be assigned to rural clinics will be reduced from the 2016 level of 324 to 243 next year.
As expected, Recto will ask DoH officials to explain the personnel cuts when they appear before the 24-member Senate this month to justify their proposed P141.6-billion budget for 2017.
Given the increasing number of poor Filipinos, concerned government authorities should think twice or thrice before reducing the number of rural health professionals.
This, if they want to regain the trust and confidence of the suffering people at this time of economic hardship, when prices of everything, including food and energy, continue to spiral.