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Abstract

Background: The Philippine Barangay Health Worker (BHW) program extends the accessibility of health care services at the community level. BHWs are trained volunteers who perform various health-promoting and health-educating tasks and provide primary health care (PHC) services within their communities. However, the weak implementation of policies meant to protect their welfare, like the BHW Benefits and Incentives Act (Republic Act No. 7883), translates to challenges that impact the sustainability of the BHW program. This qualitative study aimed to explore the BHWs' experiences with RA 7883 and how its implementation shaped their overall role as frontline health workers during the pandemic.

Method: The researchers conducted key informant interviews in selected barangays in Biñan, Laguna, and Project 7, Quezon City. The participants included BHWs, community health workers (CHWs), co-workers, supervisors, clients, city program coordinators, and BHW district presidents. The researchers thematically coded the interview transcripts to analyze the data.

Results: The experiences of the BHWs showed how the gaps in RA 7883 implementation influenced the different aspects of their position. The BHWs expressed the need for sufficient support through remuneration and training opportunities to strengthen their competence and confidence in accomplishing their extensive tasks. The politicization of BHW through patronage politics also created inefficiencies that were detrimental to achieving the program's goals.

Conclusion: The poor implementation of RA 7883 undeniably affected the BHWs' motivation and the full realization of their roles. These inadequacies hindered the program's goal of equitable and accessible health services.

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