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Promotion officers are barangay health workers.

CITY OF LAOAG – Over 3,500 barangay health workers (BHWs) in Ilocos Norte will now be used as health promotion officers in their individual communities to provide more thorough coverage in the implementation of healthcare programs among people.

This came after the Ilocos Norte board approved a resolution on Monday (June 6) designating BHWs as barangay-level Health Education and Promotion Officers (HEPO), who will assist primary healthcare providers in ensuring the proactive and effective implementation of community-wide health promotion policies, programs, and activities.

The resolution, sponsored by the committee on health and sanitation, aims to strengthen the Universal Health Care (UHC) Act, as well as the Department of Health (DOH) Administrative Order No. 2020-0024 on the Primary Care Framework and Sectoral Strategies, by emphasizing the importance of enhancing the capacities of primary care workers, including BHWs, as an important strategy to ensure quality, safe, and affordable care for Ilocanos.

“BHWs remain, indispensable members of the local health system, because they serve as front line responders in pandemic prevention and response actions in the community, assisting in the operations of the Barangay Health Services and Rural Health Units, among others,” Medeldorf Gaoat, the resolution’s main sponsor, said on Tuesday.

According to the resolution, the concerned local governments must provide BHWs with a just and commensurate honorarium, as well as financial and/or non-financial incentives and bonuses.

It went on to say that the funds needed to deploy BHWs, such as honoraria, operational charges, equipment, and/or training costs, could come from the Special Health Fund or other local budgetary sources.

Filipinos are promised fair access to excellent and affordable health care goods and services, as well as the formation of primary care networks for the delivery of health services, under Section 17 of the UHC Act.

Last week, the Department of Health, in collaboration with the government of Ilocos Norte, issued a special risk allowance to its BHWs in honor of their efforts to protect the public’s health and safety during the continuing epidemic.

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