Community Health Workers: Unsung Heroes of a Failed Health System

The situation is more severe and more felt in the countryside, where an estimated two out of three poor Filipinos live. These are the people that CBHPs serve in remote barangays and sitios where government services such as health are absent.

Thus, by arresting and torturing the 43 health workers, the Arroyo administration and its armed forces have twice committed a grave injustice — first against the victims and their families, and second against the countless poor people long neglected by government and that these health workers serve. (

Sources, references, and notes

[1] Galvez Tan, Jaime Z. (2004), “The brain drain phenomenon and its implications for health: 10 strategic solutions for action by Filipino leaders”, p. 5, paper read at the International Conference on the Medical Workforce sponsored by the United States Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG), Washington DC, 4-7 Oct. 2004

[2] Based on 1992-2006 (latest available data) cumulative OFW deployment per skill and per country as compiled by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA

[3] Council for Health and Development website,

[4] __________ (2001), “Community-based health programs”, p. 7, Examples of Innovative Social Organizations and Practices of the South”, Vol. 6, UNDP Special Unit for South-South Cooperation

[5] Ibid., p. 6

[6] Ibid., pp. 3-5

[7] Lorenzo, Fe Marilyn E., RN, DrPH et al. (2005), Migration of health workers: Country case study Philippines, Institute of Health Policy and Development Studies, National Institute of Health, University of the Philippines, pp. 14, 21, International Labour Office, Geneva, 2005

[8] Op. cit., Galvez Tan (2004)

[9] Op. cit., Lorenzo (2005), 18-19

[10] Ibid., p. 44

[11] Makilan, Aubrey SC (2005), “Poor pay, working conditions are driving health professionals abroad”, Special report (last of three parts),, Vol. V No. 43, 4-10 Dec. 2005,

[12] World Health Organization Statistical Information System, Human resources for health, WHO website,

[13] __________ (2007) “Philippines Midterm Progress Report on the Millennium Development Goals”, p. 15

[14] IBON Features (2010), “Violations of economic, social rights severe under Arroyo administration”,, 12 Dec. 2009,

[15] Dumlao, Doris C. (2010) “Most Filipinos have nothing to leave their children, study shows”, Philippine Daily Inquirer, website, 6 Feb. 2010

[16] National Statistical Coordination Board, Philippine Poverty Statistics, NSCB website,

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  1. When well meaning, people serving citizens are harassed and detained, it is a sign of a truly decaying society. STOP THE VIOLENCE. UPHOLD DEMOCRACY. RESPECT HUMAN RIGHTS!


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