The Department of Health is readying compliance with the recommendation of the World Health Organization to put in place a healthcare team at the primary level in order to address the health needs of the public.

It shall be hiring thousands of health professionals, including doctors, nurses, midwives, medical technologists, dentists and pharmacists to form the teams which shall be posted around the country.

Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial said the requirement for nurses make up the bulk of the 25,000 to be hired by the department, according to a report in the Manila Bulletin.  

"We're hiring varied professionals... but majority are nurses, with around 22,000 positions allocated for the group," the Health chief said.

Presently, there are 15,000 positions allocated under government's nurse deployment programme, but this will increase to 22,000 by 2018, or an addition of 7,000 nurses.

Meanwhile, slots for physicians have likewise increased, from 300 this year to 500 by 2018.

Doctors and nurses who are either unemployed or underemployed have until December to apply in regional offices across the country. Deployment will be from January to December of next year.

Secretary Ubial assured funding has been earmarked for the programme under the department's budget proposal for 2018.

"We included around Php9 billion in the budget, to hire some 25,000 new health providers," she was quoted as saying.

The Philippine Nurses Association previously said there were 200,000 registered nurses who were engaged in other professions, while 500,000 were eployed in government and public hospitals.

Healthcare professional deployment programmes of the DOH include the Doctors to the Barrios for physicians, who are required to serve for two years in fourth to fifth-class municipalities who have not had a doctor for at least two years.

For registered nurses, it is the Registered Nurses for Health Enhancement and Local Service or RN HEALS, where nurses are deployed to a community for six months, and another six months to hospitals.

There is the Rural Health Midwives Program where midwives are assigned to village health stations and rural health units, while dentists, medical technologists, nutritionist-dieticians have the Rural Health Team Placement Program. MIMS

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