Barangay health center
Ideally, there should be one Barangay Health Center per barangay or district. However, some far flung areas may have difficult access to a nearby Barangay Health Center. Some districts may share a Barangay Health Center due to: (1) close proximity to one another and (2) lack of manpower.
It is usually the first point of contact between residents of the community and other health care facility levels. Barangay Health Center services are regulated by the (DOH). Projects may be spearheaded by each center under the supervision of the local government and the municipal health officer. Every health center is equipped to provide primary level of health care. A Barangay Health Center is commonly staffed of doctors, public health nurses, nutritionists, medical technicians, rural health midwives, barangay health workers, dentists, etc.
Barangay Health Centers follow a schedule of medical services from Monday to Friday. Below is an example of a Barangay Health Center’s schedule (schedules may vary per health center):
- Monday – Morbid (sick community members)
- Tuesday – Prenatal, postnatal and other pregnancy related cases
- Wednesday – Immunization
- Thursday – Morbid (sick community members)
- Friday – Senior citizens
The health center’s dentist also has its own schedule. Normal schedule is from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sometimes health centers schedule special medical projects or missions and conduct health education classes during weekends especially when the DOH issues health warnings and epidemic cases. The out-patient services normally include first aid treatment, internal medicine, pediatric, obstetrics, gynaecological treatment and diagnosis of social diseases.
Fundamentals of Barangay Health Center
- There should be one Barangay Health Center per district.
- It should cater to health center patients who represent the population served.
- It should be able to provide primary health care services.
- Most medicines are given for free. There is a drug subsidy for expensive medicines.
- Services rendered should be free for the members of the community.
Who Barangay Health Centers serve
- Barangay residents of all ages.
- Barangay residents of all races and ethnicities.
- Barangay residents with or without health insurance.
Primary Health Care (PHC)
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the goal of Primary Health Care is beneficial for all. It aims to reduce health exclusion and social disparities. It helps in organizing health services according to people’s needs and expectations. It also works on integrating health into all sectors.
Primary health care gives high importance to education, nutrition, preventive medicine and treatment of the most common diseases and injuries. It is considered as a practical means of giving any form of health care for increasing populations in poor economies such as in Third World countries. The Philippines is among the first countries to adopt the idea of PHC and integrate it in most local communities. There is a strong campaign on local barangay initiatives in all parts of the country and a call for greater community participation.
- Primary health care in the Philippines: banking on the barangays? NCBI. (Accessed 8 December 2010.)
- Malaria. MedicineNet. (Accessed 6 November 2010)
- Primary Health Care. World Health Organization. (Accessed 8 December 2010.)
- The Philippine Health Care System. docstoc.com. ( Accessed 8 December 2010.)
- Personal interview: J. Mangabat, Makati Barangay Health Center public health nurse.