Wednesday, May 23, 2012

[Vital Signs Column] Blogging for Health

Vital Signs, is the FIRST newspaper for the medical community. It caters to doctors, health workers and other healthcare professionals, bringing them the latest health news, scientific updates, as well as opinions, and commentaries on current issues impacting healthcare delivery in the country. You can read Alvin Dakis' columns on nursing & social issues named Nurse's Notes in every Vital Signs newspaper published every 1st & 15th of the month. 
May 16-30, 2012 Issue

This is the digital age: the Age of Internet and Social Media.

Everything happens in the cyberspace. Nothing escapes in tweets, status posts, video uploads and blogs.

And yet healthcare information has a lot of catching up to do. For many healthcare professionals, this is something strange, beyond the comfort zones and needed to be ventured. This is something we can work on, perhaps a new career for many of us.

But what is blogging and how can it increase access to health information & education?

Can blogging be a reliable source of health information? And what are the downsides of blogging for health?

Blogging is a new tool for increasing access to health information from the basics of hygiene, to different types of cancers, to management of hypertension and to some personal stories of how they survive a crisis. Blogging is a way for people to share their insights, opinions, expert views and life stories. Blogging can be done by anyone and there are platforms which are easy to use and guides for start-up.

With the advent of social media, blogging can truly be helpful as an online resource. There are quite a handful of health blogs that are established but there are also others which I encountered that spearheaded misinformation.

I started blogging in 2010 with the initial purpose of posting personal opinions on different health issues I usually encounter. It was hard at the beginning and that it required me to regularly post because my readers are increasing in number. Since I am the only one managing my blog, the Nightingale Chronicles, I am also the one doing all the lay-outing (which of course is not that difficult provided by helpful applications online).

I blog for the following reasons:

Access to Health Information: Blogging is a means for me to provide basic information about health matters, especially reproductive & sexual health which is my field of interest. I write about some basic tips or information on reproductive & sexual health, sexually transmissible infections, HIV & AIDS and other non-communicable diseases which catch my interest (like Diabetes). I make sure that the information I put are correct and can easily be understood by the general public (since all my articles can be read by anyone).

Busting Health Myths: One of the biggest thing health blogging can do is to perhaps help educate more clients about their health conditions and to bust those urban legends & myths that many of them believe till now. But being able to bust health myths, a blogger must really do a lot of reading, studying and comparing so that he/she can post something that is correct & backed by medical truth.

Updates on Health Issues: Most of the time I blog about health & social issues and the progress in each case like the RH Bill for one. Plenty of times I have received negative comments about my stand on the bill and other controversial bills which I support such as Anti-Discrimination Bill, Divorce Bill etc. Social issues are also my interest and usually I write something about it, if given the time.

Updates on Nursing Issues: Blogging has indeed found its way to bridging the information gaps especially in a lot of nursing issues happening in the country. One of my current goals is to blog about my involvement with different initiatives in nursing leadership like the on-going issue of nursing exploitation, the amendments of the nursing law and the formation of the nursing roadmap 2030. Many nurses in the grassroots level do not have access or updates to the things I mentioned and having to blog about it would help them know more about the progress of the profession and be able to respond actively.

Encouraging Health Debates: Some of my blog posts have sparked some discussions and debates from the readers. The blogger has to be prepared to receive some feisty comments. But as the owner of the blog, you may moderate and set basic rules for them to follow. I don’t normally delete or block comments but I do give a warning that use of profane words or giving below-the-belt remarks would be subject for deletion.

Connect Other Activities: I regularly write as a columnist to Vital Signs but most of the time, my online readers cannot read it because the newspaper is by subscription-based so after my column gets published, I post online copies in my blog so they’ll be given a chance to read and interact. I also post some media releases from partner organizations to my blog (even sometimes it is not health related).

Who can do health blogging?
I recommend health professionals to do health blogging. This may be a journal of your experiences as a health professional or to focus on a specific health topic for you to revolve around. Training in blogging is not really necessary but of course if you think that this can be a career path you might want to take, then by all means take trainings on social media, journalism or the likes. I had my media training for reproductive & sexual health before I started writing regularly for my blog.

However, any person can become a health blogger. If your passion is about promoting health, and preventing diseases, then health blogging might just be your turf! You may or may not be regularly posting articles in your blog but as long as you have the passion and time to update your blog, you will be fine. Also remember to study the details before you post it online.

There is one micro-blogging site I know that you can also use if you are not fond of writing long articles and maintaining a blog site. This is Twitter is a form of a micro-blogging site which permits its users to blog (which is commonly known as tweeting) with a maximum limit of 140 characters.

Anything beyond that, the user must continue blogging in another post or through the use of applications like Twitlonger that allows users to blog/tweet longer than 140 characters. Micro-blogging is an avenue for creative writing where the user has to think of ways to compress his/her message in 140 characters and to use a hashtag (#) so that followers/readers can easily follow the flow of the conversation.

Implications of Health Blogging
Blogging for health is not a child’s play. We write and post information that could be detrimental to someone who might stumble in our blog. We have to be careful and prudent of the things we post in our blog. Also for health professionals, this is a special call.

Health professionals are bound by their Code of Ethics. Health professionals, as much as they are given the freedom to inform have the responsibility of not disclosing private information about their clients. Unintentional disclosure may lead to lawsuits and may be a subject for revocation of license.

Unintentional disclosure of client/patient information may include specific details such as the client’s name, social security number, and other critical information about the client’s health plan or procedures. Health professionals doing blogging should be careful not to go beyond their call of duty.

If you are not a health professional but is blogging about health, I also would also recommend that you do not spread misinformation. For example, one blogger is writing about HIV and is accusing some people that they are HIV positive, posting their photos, names and other details. This is an example of a wrongful way of health blogging.

Blogging may be a good tool to use to educate and inform people about health but it may also be dangerous once uncontrolled and intentionally/unintentionally misinforming.

So blog prudently.

Monday, May 21, 2012

House Body to Review Process & Implementation of Youth Parliament

20 May 2012 08:32:07 AM
By Jazmin S. Camero, MRS-PRIB

A lawmaker has called for an investigation into the questionable process of selecting the members of the National Youth Parliament (NYP), a program of the National Youth Commission (NYC).

"Suspicions about the intentional or unintentional failure of the NYC to implement the original mandate of the NYP have discouraged many young people from participating in the program in the past years," Rep. Raymond Palatino (Party-list, Kabataan) said.

Palatino filed House Resolution 2370 urging the House Committee on Youth and Sports to review the process of selection and implementation of the NYP.

"It has been observed that such provisions of the law, the selection process and implementation of the program have not been dutifully observed by the NYC in the past decade," Palatino said.

Palatino said the NYP was envisioned to be a major development program and the mandate of the NYC is to provide an effective feedback mechanism to various government institutions and an avenue for the youth to participate in governance.

Palatino said the Republic Act 8044 or the Youth in Nation-Building Act mandates the NYC to convene a Parliament of Youth Leaders every two years.

"The same mandate requires the NYC to ensure the equal geographical representation of the youth sector in the country. Equal representation of men and women in every city, province and region, ensuring representatives from various sectors, including but not limited to, in-school youth, out of school youth, working youth, and youth with special needs and the Sangguniang Kabataan," Palatino said.

Palatino said the democratic and transparent selection of delegates is necessary to preserve the integrity and prestige of the NYP as a major political gathering of the country's most active youth leaders who are given the task of formulating concrete legislative and policy recommendations to the government.

"The diverse representation of the NYP can positively influence the output of the program by reflecting the various aspirations and creative ideas of young people," Palatino said.

"A probe on the implementation of the NYP can help members of Congress to determine if an amendment of the law which created NYC can boost youth participation in governance," Palatino said. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

UNDP Supports IDAHO: Calls for LGBTs to claim rights

17 May 2012

Manila, Philippines – 2011 has been marked by a series of breakthroughs at the United Nations concerning the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons. On 17 June 2011, the UN adopted the first ever resolution on the human rights of LGBT persons, followed by the release of the first UN report last December. To further highlight the human rights abuses and violations that LGBT persons face around the world, the UN organized the first formal debate on the issue at the Human Rights Council in March 2012.Today, to mark the 2012 International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO), UNDP is releasing a regional report focusing on human rights and HIV vulnerability of transgender persons in the Asia-Pacific Region.

Despite these developments, a number of countries still have laws that criminalize same-sex relations between consenting adults. In the Philippines, while the society may appear tolerant towards LGBT, stories of stigma and discrimination among members of the community still persist. According to the NGO Philippine LGBT Hate Crime Watch, it is estimated that over 160 LGBT-related hate crimes have been documented since 1996. The prevailing stigma associated with homosexuality and sexual diversity drives members of the community to situations that place their physical, mental and social well-being at greater risk. This cannot be better illustrated than by the escalating epidemic of HIV among men having sex with men (MSM) and transgender persons in the country.As reported by the Department of Health, about eight out of tenreported cases of HIV each day are acquired through same-sex transmission.Experience has shown that when people are stigmatized because of their sexual orientation or identity, they are less likely to access the HIV services they need. Therefore, this leads to new HIV infections and AIDS deaths. 

Related to this, UNDP welcomes the recent endorsement by the Philippine National AIDS Council of the National Comprehensive HIV and AIDS Strategic Plan for the MSM and Transgender Populations 2012-2016. The plan provides a roadmap for the government and civil society to curb the increasing HIV infection cases among MSM and transgender persons,and provide treatment, care and support services for those living with HIV.More importantly, the plan addresses the stigma encountered by the population, thus creating space for dialogue and policy reforms that aim to dismantle the climate of stigma and discrimination faced by MSM and transgender persons, a crucial element in ensuring universal access to HIV services.

IDAHO 2012 participants holding their placards
This will help realize the recent commitment made by President Aquino together with other leaders of Southeast Asian Nations at the 19th ASEAN Summit in Bali, Indonesia, in November 2011. In support of the UNAIDS vision of “Zero New HIV Infections, Zero Discrimination and Zero HIV Related Deaths,” the president has pledged to halve sexual transmission of HIV and ensure accelerated efforts to achieve the goal of universal access to anti-retroviral treatment by 2015. He also committed to ensure that adequate financial resources are provided for scaling up evidence-based HIV prevention programmes for key populations at higher risk, including MSM and transgender persons.

In line with the national commitment to achieving Millennium Development Goal 6, which aims to halt and reverse the spread of HIV and AIDS by 2015, UNDP calls on the Philippines to keep to its commitment and ensure the implementation of this plan and to promote an enabling environment that helps facilitate access and utilization of HIV services by MSM and transgender persons. 

UNDP commends the local governments that have begun to rise to this challenge. The City Councils of Davao and Cebu are putting forward legislation that prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Similar legislation is also pending in Congress. 

In addition, as an offshoot to the Asia Pacific Regional Dialogue of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law, participated by high level national officials, the Commission on Human Rights has now taken a more pro-active stance on AIDS and gender-related issues. The report of the Global Commission will be released in July 2012. The findings and recommendations of the report will support the strengthening of the legislative environment for rights protection of people most-at-risk, vulnerable and living with HIV, including MSM and transgender persons.

As we mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, UNDP expresses its solidarity with the LGBT community in claiming their rights and denouncing human rights abuses against them.

Philip Castro
Programme Officer on HIV and AIDS, 
UNDP Philippines; +632 901-0223

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

NOW HIRING: Communication Officers of the Human Development and Poverty Reduction Cabinet Cluster’s Communications Office

The Human Development and Poverty Reduction Cabinet Cluster

HDPRCC Communications Office (DSWD main office in Batasan) is NOW HIRING the following:

1.) A Communications Officer IV with a degree in English, Comparative Literature, Humanities, Creative Writing or Journalism. Additional background in development work preferred. Must have excellent writing and analytical skills, and must be able to think and write from more than one perspective (since government necessarily represents multiple stakeholders). No die-hard advocates who refuse to do basic research on opposing points of view, please.

Must also be able to handle macroeconomic and political data with care and precision. Applicants who are careless with numbers, spelling or data in general need not apply.

Full-time job. Salary is: P35-37K, depending on the applicant's background.

2.) A Communications Officer II, preferably with a degree in Economics or Statistics and at least 2 years of experience in government service or with LGUs / NGOs. Must be strong in data gathering, technical, research and analytical skills in the field of human development and poverty reduction. Must also be able to communicate technical information to a non-specialized audience.

Full-time job. Salary is: P25-28K, depending on the applicant's background.

3.) A Communications Officer I with a degree in Communications Arts, who is well rounded in writing, radio, photography and videography. S/he will assist in the production of materials for dissemination to government agencies, NGOs, civil society, mass media and the general public.

Full-time job. Salary is: P18-21K, depending on the applicant's background.

All Communication Officers must be team players with good coordination and support skills.

Precision and punctuality (particularly with work submission) is an absolute must. No divas, please. Just applicants with a high degree of professionalism willing to roll up their sleeves and do their bit to help the country.

Please submit your applications to:

[Vital Signs Column] Reviewing JPEPA – Becoming a Japanese Nurse

Vital Signs, is the FIRST newspaper for the medical community. It caters to doctors, health workers and other healthcare professionals, bringing them the latest health news, scientific updates, as well as opinions, and commentaries on current issues impacting healthcare delivery in the country. You can read Alvin Dakis' columns on nursing & social issues named Nurse's Notes in every Vital Signs newspaper published every 1st & 15th of the month. 
May 1-15, 2012 Issue

I remembered when I was still in nursing school; this has been a topic which a lot of nursing leaders are talking about and many are against. I remembered they were in the news rallying and saying that JPEPA (Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement) will not be a good partnership agreement between Philippines and Japan.

I had those information and biases before I became actively involved in nursing politics and issues. I have no clear information whatsoever about JPEPA and how it works.

Until I got an invitation from the Department of Health to become one of the Panel Reactors to the 4th National Human Resources for Health Policy Forum to react on – who would have thought – JPEPA.

One of JPEPA’s objectives is to open up Japan’s labor market for employment of Filipino professional healthcare workers and to have mutual recognition of education or experience obtained, requirements met or licenses or certifications granted in the Philippines and Japan. This is one of JPEPA’s top bilateral & multilateral agenda.

But what has happened from the time JPEPA was agreed to be implemented by both parties? What happened to our nurses? During the entire presentation, I was more of focusing to the quality of life our nurses are experiencing there and of course the rate of the passing of the Japanese Nurse Licensure Examination. Here are some of the things I’ve learned.

The deployment and acceptance of Filipino nurses and certified caregivers to Japan is a government-to-government arrangement based on the Economic Partnership Agreement between the Philippines and Japan, particularly in the movement of natural persons. Sadly, we didn’t see this coming. The Philippine government works with JPEPA under POEA while JICWELS is the agency that deals for the Japanese government. JICWELS is not a government agency and therefore the Philippines are not communicating directly to the Japanese government official. According to the report made by POEA, in their last dialogue Japanese government agreed to have a direct engagement with POEA.

There are types of health workers who can enter Japanese shores under the implementing agreement in JPEPA and there are four:
1.      Candidate-Nurses
2.      Candidate-Caregivers
3.      Qualified Nurses
4.      Qualified Caregivers
Candidate nurses & caregivers are those who are still studying the Japanese language and culture but who are already in Japan. Their employers, some of them, allow them to study and review for the Japanese licensure examinations.  While qualified nurses & caregivers are the ones who passed the licensure exams.

The Philippines sent a total of 209 nurses from 2009-2011 with only 15 passing the Japanese Nursing Licensure Exams in 3 years. The highest of which was from the 1st Batch with 93 nurses then a sudden drop of nurses in the 2nd Batch with 46 and 70 nurses in the 3rd Batch. Nurses have a more unstable number of availing the program compared to caregivers.
Nurses receive a daily stipend of P435, daily food allowance of P350, free accommodation, uniform allowance and an emergency medical insurance. But even though these allowances were given only a few nurses would accept the JPEPA program.
Well there are a couple of reasons behind:
·         It is definitely not easy to learn the Japanese language in about 6 months – more so their writing system, Kanji. When JPEPA started, the Japanese Nursing Licensure Exam is in Kanji, and nothing in English. This became a total disaster for Filipino nurses taking the Board Exam. If in the Philippines where the exam is in English many students do not pass, how much more if it is in Kanji? Good thing recently the Japanese government is willing to change some familiar nursing & medical terms in the board exams to make it easier for international health personnel to understand the questions;
·         There were some complaints arising out of differences in the terms of employment of the institutions/hospitals were some reported that some institutions are more advantageous than the others. Some nurses/caregivers felt dissatisfied and thought that they have not been matched with the institutions that offered more superior package of benefits;
·         Many nurses who went to Japan had a lot of coping & adjustment problems like being homesick or sometimes getting early pregnancy which affected their performance and ability to focus on training. Many of them are facing early repatriation; and
·         Nurses also had some problems when they face transitioning from their language training to the actual-on-the job training where some amenities they enjoy during their language training is not provided.
During the presentation, there were some recommendations & proposals to improve JPEPA-MNP implementation, such as:
  • ·         JPEPA should institutionalize a standard working contract, where all of its nurses and caregivers should sign & follow. Currently, Filipino nurses follow the working contract of their different agencies and therefore follow different policies;
  • ·         Improve the training and deployment process under the Implementing Agreement between POEA & JICWELS and to ensure these initiatives are included;
  • ·         Extend the period of stay of candidate nurses to four (4) years (which was formerly 3 years) and to allow them to take the Japanese Nursing Licensure Exam after a year of their stay. Should the candidate nurse fail the first exam, he/she may be allowed to have 3 attempts to pass the exam from the 2nd to 4th year of stay;
  • ·         There should at least be one (1) month allocated in the six (6) month training in Japan for technical review of the Japanese nursing licensure exam aside from the basic Japanese language training; and
  • ·         Reduce the clinical work qualification requirement from three (3) years to two (2) years.
I added that nurses who are there in Japan should also be given equal access to labor rights protection and basic services. POEA and other government instrumentalities should have a regular assistance and check-up on their statuses so that we will know if the program is still functioning according to its goals.

Many young nurses still do not see Japan as a country that they can work and migrate to similar to other western countries. Unlike the Middle East countries where it is easier for them to work abroad, Japan has a lot of processes for foreign based health personnel and even though they are needing more nurses and trained caregivers, their culture and language would be a bit difficult for our professionals to learn in such a small amount of time.

The Philippine Nurses Association recommended that such language and acculturation training be initially introduced in the basic nursing curriculum perhaps as subjects where nursing students can choose from.

After hearing Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac of POEA presented JPEPA and its developments, I felt that there is a need for nurses to understand how JPEPA works and that they are not Registered Nurses when they arrive in Japan unless they pass the Japanese Nursing Licensure Examination because according to the response of Dr. Cora Anonuevo of UP Manila, many of the nurses do not even perform vital signs to their patients when they arrive in Japan and that made them very frustrated.

I believe that this program needs to spread to all schools & colleges of nursing and those students as early as 3rd Year College would know about this opportunity and if ever they decided to become a nurse in Japan they would know exactly what to do.

It is officially summer in the Philippines! And we are experiencing the summer heat again. Nurses know that summer is usually the time of the year where we do a lot of free circumcision services to young boys commonly called “Operation Tuli”.

I do remember about 2 years ago that there were some scandalous photos of nurses taking photos of young boys being circumcised without their faces covered and their underpants down. Those photos went viral and that it went to the headlines. Claims of pedophile nurses filled the news.

I would like to remind all nurses that there are ethical guidelines we need to follow during circumcision and “Operation Tuli”
  •     Nurses are not allowed to suture wounds unless trained according to Section 28 of the Philippine Nursing Act of 2002;
  •      Should nurses suture, it should be under the supervision of a surgeon;
  •    Suturing is not a nurse’s role – but more of assisting the surgeon during the operation and in health education and assisting clients;
  •    Nurses should remember that clients are protected by their Bill of Rights and minor clients are also protected by Children welfare laws. Taking photos without consent and exposing unnecessary body parts or even the identity of your clients are strictly prohibited, unprofessional and unethical; and
  •      Nurses should only assist clients, not force them to take the procedure if they do not want to. Explain to parents that children have the right to refuse the procedure should he wish to. Nurses must also educate their young clients the method, processes and rationale of circumcision in a simplified manner. However, the right of the person undergoing the procedure should prevail at all costs.
You may see the online copy of this article and so as all my previous columns in my blog: where I also write my other opinions and information on health & social issues.

Vlogging for Nursing

Nurse Anna Tan, a nurse who use the power of social media through video blogging or "vlogging" shares her thoughts about nursing and taking the Nurses Licensure Exams. 

Anna is now a jock at CgeTV, a cable channel program which features different amateur Youtube videos. You will find her there hosting because she won as in Cge Star. You might want to see her videos and enjoy her thoughts about nursing. 

On taking the Nursing course
Tips for taking the PNLE

Working with the government to stop hate. IDAHO in Manila 2012

On May 17, Philippine LGBT Hate Crime Watch, Ladlad Partylist and other LGBT and allied organizations are celebrating the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHO) with a march to the Commission on Human Rights (CHR). 

With the theme, "Working with the Government to Stop the Hate (Sa Pagtigil ng Karahasan, Kasama ang Pamahalaan)", the event aims to bring into focus the incidents of hate crime against LGBTs in the country. 

LGBT people are becoming increasingly vulnerable to crimes because of their sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI). To date, 156 LGBTs have been murdered (data since 1996), 16 of those in 2012 alone. “Homophobia, biphobia and transphobia are the major motivations for hate crimes against LGBT people. Fear and hatred kills,” says Santy Layno, Trustee of Ladlad Partylist. 

“Since there is no mechanism that helps identify hate crime victims, we don’t know how many more have been killed over the years,” says Marlon Lacsamana of the Philippine LGBT Hate Crime Watch. “The government needs to recognize, investigate, document and prosecute hate crimes based on SOGI. For that we need to get the active support of CHR.” 

What the group asks of the CHR are the following: 
  1. Acknowledgement that hate crimes against LGBT people, and the homophobia, biphobia and transphobia underpinning them, are serious problems that must be given due attention; 
  2. Facilitation of tripartite discussions with the DILG and the PNP in addressing the growing number of LGBT hate crimes; and, 
  3. Commitment to provide assistance in pushing for the approval of House Resolutions 1432 and 1460. 
“Having on board the national human rights institution of the country may not prevent the hate crimes from happening, but it definitely sends the message that the government is doing its part in protecting the rights of all people—in particular, their rights to life and security— regardless of SOGI,” adds Lacsamana. 

The marchers will meet at the UP Palma Hall AS Steps at 3:00 pm and march to the CHR Office. At the CHR Office, a cande lighting ceremony will be held to commemorate the victims of LGBT killings, as well as a program where the group will voice out their demands to the CHR.   

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Call for Entries: A Time's Up Tobacco Video Making Contest

Want to win P20,000 by telling people not to smoke? Then here's your chance! 

Health Justice Philippines and DAKILA Philippine Collective for Modern Heroism organized a video making contest for professional and amateur young filmmakers! See details below: 

May Ibubuga Ka Ba? Video Making Contest Mechanics

May Ibubuga Ka Ba? Video Making Contest Application Form

Government not giving up on anti-poverty measures despite 28.3% Filipinos experiencing hunger

Manila, Philippines - A Social Weather Station (SWS) survey conducted in March 2012 reported that 28.3% of its respondents -- equivalent to an estimated 4.8 million families -- experienced hunger in the past few months.

In a related poll, a 10-point increase in self-rated poverty was observed, reaching 61% in the Visayas and 72% in Mindanao.

The figures reflect an unfortunate array of shocks that have recently beset the country. Typhoon Sendong ravaged Mindanao late last year. In February, an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.9 on the Richter scale devastated Negros Oriental.

Recent oil price hikes have also resulted in fare price increases, while food price hikes for basic commodities (like fish, dairy products, non-alcoholic beverages and selected fruits) have contributed to an increase in inflation rates. These factors have significantly affected the purchasing power of ordinary Filipinos.

Power shortages in Mindanao have further magnified the vulnerabilities experienced throughout the region.

In response, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has intensified its services to alleviate hunger and poverty. The Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino program, for instance, augments basic necessities and ensures the education and health of poor families. Cash-for-work and supplemental feeding programs are extended to those identified as being poor and hungry.

The provision of core shelter units and livelihood assistance to earthquake and typhoon survivors is also being fast-tracked. To date, 700 beneficiary families have been provided with shelter and livelihoods, and are now beginning new lives in permanent relocation sites. An additional 7,000 houses are also being built to provide the housing needed by the victims of typhoon Sendong. To assist the victims further, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) offers scholarships and training for victim-beneficiaries, while the Self Employment Assistance-Kaunlaran (SEA-K) of DSWD provides them with greater livelihood opportunities.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), already tasked with job-creation, is now providing assistance for economically displaced persons.

At the same time, the Department of Agriculture (DA) has been focusing on farm-to-market roads to ensure the mobility of food to and from the poorest regions in the country.

To prepare for future environment shocks, Project NOAH (Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards) has been launched by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) as an innovation to prepare the country for natural calamities and lessen the damages they might bring.

Underemployment -- a significant factor in driving hunger spikes -- is caused by a variety of reasons: the loss of productive assets due to natural disasters, a shortage of water for irrigation or the enforcement of logging bans. Undersecretary Jude Esguerra of the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) adds: “We believe that people on the ground can often have more nuanced diagnoses of their problems, which is why the Human Development Cluster has embarked upon the bottom-up planning and budgeting of 600 focus municipalities. This diversifies our poverty reduction approaches.” These poorest municipalities have been asked for solutions to their specific problems -- many of which revolve around underemployment and hunger -- and will be supported by the entire Cluster in their respective anti-poverty plans.

Despite fluctuations in people’s perceptions, the government’s commitment to growth and stability remains steadfast. Economic and environmental shocks notwithstanding, the long- term impact of these anti-poverty strategies will be felt, in time, as ordinary Filipinos finally begin to experience less poverty and hunger.

For any questions or comments, please contact:
Assistant Secretary Lila Ramos Shahani
Head of Communications
Human Development and Poverty Reduction Cabinet Cluster
Tel: 931 8101 to 07, loc. 212

Sunday, May 13, 2012

ICN International Nurses Day Kit 2012

The International Council of Nurses released the International Nurses Day (IND) Kit for 2012 with the theme "Closing the Gap: From Evidence to Action"

Ind Kit 2012

Friday, May 11, 2012

ICN stresses critical need for evidence-based approach to nursing services

GenevaSwitzerland, 11 May 2012 - On the occasion of International Nurses Day 2012, the International Council of Nurses calls for an increase in evidence-informed decision making and practice.  Nurses are often best placed to supply important information not only about care but also about context, population health and the role of key policy and social factors.  This understanding is vital to local service innovation and the development of new ways of working.

“The use of an evidence-based approach enables us to challenge and be challenged on how we practice and therefore hold ourselves accountable,” declared David Benton, ICN Chief Executive Officer.  “It allows us to constantly review the way we work and to seek new and more effective and efficient ways of doing things.  This allows us to play our full part in increasing access to effective services.  And, during these times of financial challenge, it enables us to use those precious resources more efficiently.”  

Half of the world’s deaths could be prevented with simple cost effective interventions but not enough is known about how to make these more widely available to the people who need them.  Stronger emphasis needs to be placed not just on the discovery of new products, drugs and diagnostics but on how we put knowledge into use; on how we close the gap between evidence and action.

To this end, ICN has published a tool kit for nurses specifically designed to present an overview of the key aspects of this incredibly important area of development need.  An important tool for nurses to improve health system performance through evidence-based care, it empowers nurses to identify what evidence to use, how to interpret it, and whether the anticipated outcomes are sufficiently important to warrant practice change. 

International Nurses Day is celebrated around the world on 12 May, the birthday of Florence Nightingale. The ICN International Nurses Day toolkit can be accessed on the ICN website:

For further information contact:
Tel: +41 22 908 0100; Fax: +41 22 908 0101

A peek to the DOH Nurses Career Progression/Nursing Residency Program

The Career Progression Program for Nurses is a post-graduate certification course in collaboration with the Board of Nursing (PRC-BON) and the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP). The Development Academy of the Philippines will be the one to train all the pioneer trainer/instructors of the program while PRC-BON will be the one to ensure that the Career Progression Program will be incorporated to the Continuing Professional Education for Nurses process giving accredited units to those who will take the program.

Moreover, DOH is looking into creating modular approaches making the program not just accredited by PRC-BON but to make it accredited units for graduate courses. So all the nurses taking this program will have accredited units in their Master's degree. For example, you took the Career Progression Program training which is equivalent to 12 units in Maternal & Child Health Nursing; when you enroll in your Master's Degree in Maternal & Child Health Nursing, these 12 units will be carried over subtracting to the units you are going to take.

The number of nurses availing the program is not determined yet but I have seen the timeline of the program and everything is in the pipeline. The program is set to run for 6-18 months depending on the module/course. This program will be offered for free as well.

The Career Progression targets two (2) groups: first, the hospital's staff nurses and the second are those young nurses that will undergo screening process. The program proposes that staff nurses will be pulled out from their areas for the mean time while in training. They will receive the training for free but will be receiving their salaries in full. The young nurses however who will be chosen to undergo the training shall receive meal & transportation allowances and I think a small amount of per diem (which is unsure yet).

The Career Progression/Nurse Residency Program team is set to draft the modules this coming 1st week of May in Tagaytay and is expected to go on full throttle this July 2012.


Palatino to House: Review the process of selection & implementation of the National Youth Parliament

Kabataan Partylist Representative, Rep. Raymond "Mong" Palatino filed House Resolution 2370 urging the House Committee on Youth & Sports Development to review the processes of selection and the implementation of the National Youth Parliament - the national convention of different youth leaders in the Philippines every two (2) years.

Palatino wants to review the process of selecting the delegates to the Parliament, which according to him is very important because this will reflect concrete legislative & policy recommendations which will be given to the government.

According to Palatino, there should be a democratic and transparent process of selecting delegates and that this along with the general implementation of the program has not been dutifully fulfilled by the National Youth Commission - the secretariat of the National Youth Parliament.

Please do read the full transcript of House Resolution 2370 below:

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