NARS, a training-cum-employment project that provided employment to
unemployed nurses and triumphantly assisted in uplifting the essential
health services in the country's 1,000 poorest municipalities, and
complemented the country's successful efforts to weather the worst of the
Global Financial Crisis (GFC).
Labor and Employment Secretary Marianito D. Roque said that, at the formal
culmination of the one-year Project NARS on April 15,2010, "the government
and the social partners are pleased that more than 10,000 registered
Filipino nurses have productively participated in the nationwide endeavor,
in the process serving as noble warriors of wellness in the country's
disadvantaged rural areas."
The Labor and Employment Chief said that Project NARS, an acronym for Nurses
Assigned in Rural Service, was launched by no less than President Gloria
Macapagal Arroyo, joined by the country's Three Plus (3+) Social Partners
(labor, management, government, and other sectors), during the
Multi-Sectoral Summit on "Joining Hands Against the Global Crisis" last
Roque cited and thanked the agencies and sectors that had actively
contributed and collaborated in the DOLE-led Project NARS, even as he
congratulated the over 10,000 nurses for completing their services under the
hugely successful endeavor.
Labor Undersecretary Carmelita M. Pineda, the main Focal Person of the
Project NARS, named the major collaborating partners of the DOLE as the
Professional Regulation Commission-Board of Nursing (PRC-BON), the
Department of Health (DOH), the Philippine Nursing Association (PNA), the
Association of Deans of Philippine Colleges of Nursing (ADPCN), the National
League of Philippine Government Nurses (NLPGN) and the Local Government
Units (LGUs) across the country.
At the same time, Pineda appreciated the magnanimous support extended to
Project NARS by the PhilHealth and leading healthcare foundations and
companies, especially the Pharmaceutical and Health Care Association's
PHAPCares Foundation, Inc. and the GlaxoSmithKline Foundation (Phils.), Inc.
(GSKFI), Philippines, which enabled the Project to engage 200 more nurses.
Pineda said that under the Project, the more than 10,000 nurses were
deployed to the country's 1,000 poorest municipalities in two successive
six-month batches from 2009 to 2010.
As warriors of wellness, they performed the "three I's" by initiating
primary health, school nutrition, maternal health programs, and first line
diagnosis; informing about community water sanitation practices and also do
health surveillance; and immunizing children and mothers in rural areas.
They also mobilized, where urgently necessary, to assist the victims of
calamities such as Typhoon Ondoy and Pepeng and served as much-needed roving
nurses for disadvantaged schools.
Pineda said that the nurses were given a stipend of P8,000.00 per month,
with the LGUs, where possible granting monthly additional allowance ranging
from P500 to P2000 and Mercan Canada Employment Philippines (MCEP)
providing 10,000 units of medicine kits, containing bags and medical
instruments for use of the nurses, which made the program a national
enterprise with private equity.
Meanwhile, she noted the clamor of Provincial Governors and municipal mayors
for the possible resumption of Project NARS, or its evolved version in the
future, as they noted the Project's success and influence in improving the
delivery of essential healthcare services in the countryside.
Amidst the development, she said that Labor Secretary Roque had earlier
launched a new and pioneering endeavor, inspired and made possible by the
beneficial impact on public health by the successful Project NARS, with the
support of the Provincial and Local Government Units in Region 11 (the Davao
Dubbed "Project Entreprenurse," Pineda said that the pioneering endeavor is
a first of its kind in the Philippines, wherein some 500 nurses have
initially banded into a cooperative providing them a productive opportunity
to practice their nursing skills, and extend much-needed,
conveniently-accessible healthcare services in the countryside.
Pineda indicated that its development is under the aegis of the DOLE's
Region 11 Office headed by Atty. Jalilo dela Torre, adding that as the
Project proceeds, the nurses' cooperatives, while providing livelihood,
would impact further on the upgrading of public health, and contribute to
the achievement of the country's Millennium Development Goals.
OFW Journalism Consortium