The nurse assigned in rural services (NARS) program that has, so far, deployed 5,000 unemployed registered nurses to poor municipalities gained the support of the country's largest pharmaceutical group, which agreed to sponsor the deployment of an additional 100 nurses to another 20 poor municipalities, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said.
Labor and Employment Secretary Marianito D. Roque said the Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Association of the Philippines (PHAP) through its PHAPCares Foundation entered into an agreement with the DOLE along with the Department of Health (DOH) and the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) to provide for the former's sponsorship of 100 unemployed registered nurses who will be deployed to 20 poor municipalities under Project NARS.
PHAP is composed of more than 50 Filipino and international research-based pharmaceutical firms, manufacturers and retailers; generic pharmaceutical firms; pharmaceutical distribution firms; medical devices manufacturers; and health research firms. Its corporate social responsibility arm, PHAPCares Foundation, manages its social support programs that include donation of medicines for the poor and other disadvantaged Filipinos.
Roque said PHAP president Oscar Aragon and Reiner Gloor, PHAP executive director, signed the memorandum of agreement (MOA) guaranteeing their association's support to Project NARS. Roque together with DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III and PRC Chairman Nicolas Lapena Jr. also signed the MOA.
The document was subsequently presented to President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo who launched Project NARS during the multi-sectoral summit on "Joining Hands Against the Global Crisis" in Malacanang last February 9.
Roque hailed the PHAP for extending its support to NARS stressing that the association's support will boost the project's aim to deliver healthcare services to needy folks in rural areas while giving more unemployed registered nurses the opportunity to train and gain necessary competencies they need for employment in local medical centers and eventually abroad.
"The association has remarkably responded to the call of President Arroyo to support NARS, thus making the program a national undertaking with private equity," Roque said.
So far, he said the first batch of 5,000 nurse-trainees under Project NARS was deployed to 1,000 poorest municipalities for a six-month tour of duty starting last month. Another batch of 5,000 nurse-trainees will be deployed for the second half of the year.
Under the project, Roque said the nurse-trainees would undergo training and development for competency enhancement in accordance with the training program designed by the PRC and the Board of Nursing in collaboration with DOH.
The nurse-trainees receive a monthly P8,000 stipend during their training period. With the signed MOA, PHAP will shoulder the monthly allowance for the 100 additional nurse-trainees who will soon be recruited under NARS.
The association through its PHAPCares Foundation, will also donate medicines to DOH hospitals covered by Project NARS subject to availability of stocks for donation. It will also provide bags, first aid kits and other items to sponsored nurses.