Presidents from 17 Philippine worker associations from the National Capitol Region representing 10,000 community care workers met last week to strengthen coordination in an ongoing effort to lift standards for Barangay Health Workers (BHWs). The meeting, the first of its kind, was organized by UNI Global Union’s Philippine Liaison Council (UNI PLC) in Metro Manilla on 27 May.
During the gathering, the leaders discussed elevating the critical role of BHWs in the region’s healthcare system and better supporting each other within the UNI PLC network. These steps are key to helping workers raise the quality of care for patients and the quality of their jobs. BHWs deliver basic health education and selected primary health care services — for example maternal and child health, vaccinations, first aid and environmental health — and they link clients to health facilities.
UNI PLC President Roland De La Cruz pledged to support the BHWs and to work with them to improve their working conditions, training, and access to resources. He said,
“The meeting today reflects UNI PLC’s commitment to improving the working conditions of the BHWs as they provide vital services in rural and remote areas with limited access to healthcare.”
UNI PLC General Secretary Rainier Cruz then stressed the importance of strengthening the healthcare system and investing in frontline workers, who are essential to achieving universal access to quality healthcare for all Filipinos.
UNI Global Union’s Head of Care Adrian Durtschi joined meeting online noting that,
“Just as the Barangay Health Workers are a pillar of the Philippine care system, a strong network of unions and worker associations is crucial to getting the wages and recognition they deserve as well as securing the quality of care the Filipino people deserve.”