Thursday, February 18, 2010

Position paper from Registered Nurses Dr. Jose Reinhard Laoingco, Carmen C Bolinto, and Carolina V Bayla

For Press Release
18 February, 2010

Public/Community Health Nursing is one of the least road taken in nursing practice but where the biggest challenge is found because of the deplorable health situation, especially in terms of health manpower. The global and national goal of Primary Health Care vision of “health for all and health in the hands of the people” requires nurses to use the Primary Health Care approach in delivering health services to the people in the rural areas. As community health development workers following the Primary Health Care approach, we uphold the following principles:
  1. Health and illness are affected by so many factors such as social, political, economic, cultural, geographical, ecological and environmental factors.
  2. Health is a basic or fundamental HUMAN right.
  3. Empowerment, self-reliance and sustainability in health
  4. Availability, accessibility, affordability, acceptability and relevance of health services.

Our commitment to uphold the above principles are obviously manifested in the activities that we do with the community people:
  1. Our activities are not only limited to health education and health services but include training activities and other activities related to those factors affecting health.
  2. We go to the far-flung areas that are short of fully-equipped barangay health centers, very minimal hospitals, if at all present, 1 doctor and 1 nurse for the whole municipality and 1 rural health midwife for one or two barangays.
  3. We empower people and train them to become self-reliant and develop sustainable methods, instead of enhancing their dependence on a system that is not capable of providing complete basic health services.
  4. We follow Dr. Noburu Iwamura’s maxim, “Why should I imperil the sick to come to me when I, a healthy doctor [and nurse or midwife] can go to them?”. We, therefore, deliver these services to where the people are and we live/immerse with the people.

Our passion to encourage future nurses and colleagues to work in this least chosen field of nursing practice challenged us to expose student nurses, other clinical instructors and other health workers to the far-flung areas with the biggest hope that if they will actually observe for themselves the actual health realities out there, then they will be enticed to serve in these areas where 8 out of ten Filipinos get sick without having felt the hands of a caring doctor or nurse.

Now, with the illegal raid and abduction of the 43 COMMUNITY HEALTH WORKERS in Morong, Rizal and whose rights were allegedly violated by the supposed protectors of the masses, and with the interrogation that two nurses and two students experienced in Benguet by the police, allegedly because of the red alert situation brought about by the Morong raid and abduction, we are now very fearful of the same possible violation of human rights as we go to the far-lung areas. We are fearful that the people’s and our mission, values, goals and principles of Primary Health Care will further go down the drain. We are the more fearful that all nurses in the Philippines will leave the country because 43 defenseless (no guns to protect themselves) community health workers were abducted by 300 (not only 43) armed commissioned men. We are MOST FEARUL because dedicated doctors, nurses and health workers whose “guns” are their principles and ideals of service are now equated to armed rebels. And because of that, they can just be helplessly abducted, blindfolded, and tortured.

We are one with all the rest who are calling on the Arroyo administration to:
  • RELEASE the detained 43 COMMUNITY HEALTH WORKERS (doctors, nurse and trained community volunteer health workers), show them in front of the public so they can answer the allegations they are accused of.
  • STOP using dedicated and defenseless community health workers (doctors, nurses, midwives and trained community volunteers) as scape goats to your inability to end the insurgency problem in the country!!!
  • STOP equating defenseless doctors and nurses-to-the-barrios as armed rebels and STOP forcing arms into their hands which they are not capable of holding or manipulating!!!
  • PROVIDE sustainable job opportunities in the rural areas for the thousands of nurses who graduate every year!!!
Prepared by
Carmen C Bolinto Dr. J R Laoingco Carolina V. Bayla
R.N. & R.M. R.N., Ph.D. RN
cp # 09293988962

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Justice for the 43!