URDANETA CITY, Pangasinan – Amid the loud sounds in the Christmas celebrations of the barangay health workers (BHWs) in the six (6) towns of Pangasinan are the silent wishes for more support in terms of medical equipment to deliver a more efficient healthcare system.
December 16, 17, and 18 were the separate days of gift giving and raffle promos for the BHWs in Villasis, Laoac, Urdaneta City, Alaminos, Bani, and Sta. Barbara here in Pangasinan. Remedios Padua, 76, has been celebrating Christmas as a BHW of Malanay, Sta. Barbara for 33 years already. Serving since 1982, Padua has been part of the best and worst situations in her respective health unit and today she can only describe their situation in two words of an honest request – “sana madagdagan”.
“Kung minsan kulang [at] kung minsan ay okay naman, nakadepende sa ibibigay ng
government,” said Padua while trying to explain the situation when it comes to the equipment that they need in doing service.
Most of the BHWs said that the lack of weighing scales and sphygmomanometers is a big hindrance to them in terms of efficiently fulfilling their jobs. According to Stella Bautista, the president of the BHWs in Villasis, “Kapag naglilibot kami sa mga bahay-bahay, wala kaming magamit lalo na ang BP apparatus (sphygmomanometer), lalo na kung may nahahigh-blood na mga constituents namin eh talagang wala.”
In a candid explanation, the president of the BHWs in Bani also said that the ultimate problem of the BHWs today in their area is the lack of medical kits to be use during their operations. “Kahit po gustong gusto nilang magserve sa kanilang respective barangay ay kulang po sa mga [gamit].”
The situation presented by Padua and Bautista and the president of Bani is a microcosm of what can be the real situation in the whole province of Pangasinan. The simple lack of the so-called BP apparatus is causing more trouble than what has been expected by many. According to the BHWs, the support from the government has been “okay naman”-as most of them verbally described it. However, the problem is that equipments are gradually being damaged when used and it takes time for modern replacements to come or even to the worst extent that they are not being replaced at all.
According to Bautista, the number of patients that they need to cater is not decreasing as the population of every barangay will eventually increase. There are more pregnant women to be taken care of, more children that will need vaccines thus needs to be scaled, and there are more elders who are getting prone to strokes and hypertensions.
The situations of most of the BHWs is either in a stagnant mode or is going down to the worst and all they can do this Christmas is to silently shout “sana madagdagan.”