BHWs (Barangay (village) Healhcare Workers) are volunteer healthcare workers. They receive no money from the government and work many hours for no finaincial reward.
There are generally eight or so that volunteer in each barangay (village). A typical barangay has 2,000 people. They work under the supervision of an assigned midwife. A midwife typically serves three barangays.
Sources of frustration for the BHWs include travelling long distances in the mountainous area of Tablas and mothers who refuse to immunisations for their babies (as it makes the babies “sick”) and couples who continue to have more babies when they plainly can’t afford them.
The BHWs perform the following roles:
- Help deliver healthcare info.
- Help promote health initiatives.
- Help malnourished kids
The kids are often provided nutritious food.
- Limited pre and post natal care.
They will weigh babies and other simple tasks. The local midwife performs the more technical duties.
- Limited contraceptive advice.
The BHWs will often inform clients that contraceptives are available and refer them to a nurse of midwife. The most common contraceptives given are: the Pill, three monthly injections and natural family planning methods. Note that some BHWs don’t even mention family planning
- Supply vitamins to pregnant females.
A healthy mum means a healthy baby… Sometimes the expectant mothers come to the local health care center, and sometimes the BHWs deliver the vitamins direct to their door.
- Refer pregnant women to the midwife.
If they see an obviously pregnant women in the community, the will record simple demographic info and refer them to a midwife for prenatal care.