La Union BHWs ready to take on new role as community HEPOs

By Glen S Ramos

A total of 40 BHW Federation Presidents from the province of La Union attended the 5-day “Capacity Building for Barangay Health Workers (BHWs) as Health Education and Promotion Officers (HEPOs) on the Ground” held in San Juan, La Union from September 18-22, 2023.

A TOTAL of 40 Barangay Health Worker (BHW) Federation Presidents today completed the 5-day “Capacity Building for Barangay Health Workers (BHWs) as Health Education and Promotion Officers (HEPOs) on the Ground” conducted by the Department of Health (DOH) – Ilocos Region’s Health Promotion Unit from September 18-22, 2023 in San Juan, La Union. 

The training aims to develop BHWs competencies on the seven (7) priority areas defined in DOH’s Health Promotion Framework Strategy that will enable them to improve their skills in communication, interpersonal, teaching, organizational, and advocacy. 

“The roles and functions of BHWs are evolving to accommodate the changing needs and demands of the times, including the requirements of their communities and the health system as evidenced by new approved policies that are being introduced to better equip them with the necessary skills to accomplish their daily task as frontliners of health care in barangays,” Regional Director Paula Paz M. Sydiongco stated in her message during the opening program. 

“Hindi lang basic health assessment and simple remedies for common health ailments ang kanilang gagawin kundi kasama na ang pagbuo ng mga programa at mga aktibidad upang maitaguyod ang pitong priority programs sa nutrition and physical activity, environmental health, immunization, substance use, mental health, sexual and reproductive health, at violence and injury prevention.” 

“At sila ang mangunguna upang ang mga ito ay maisasakatuparan sa kani-kanilang mga barangay bilang Health Promotion Officers (HEPOs),” Sydiongco emphasized. 

The activity was the last leg to end the training of BHWs as community HEPOs in the four provinces of the Ilocos region. 

Regional Health Promotion Unit Head, Cheryl D. Buhong said that after the training, all BHWs are expected to have the five (5) skills and knowledge to become effective HEPOs on the ground namely, identifying and addressing social determinants of health, interpersonal communication and counseling, social and behavioral change and communication, risk communication and social listening. 

“All these competencies are imparted in this capacity-building workshop. That is why it is important that BHWs attend regular capacity-building activities to ensure that they have the right knowledge, attitude, and skills to serve the residents in their barangays in a non-judgmental and confidential manner,” Buhong explained. 

She added that the same activity will be rolled out next year but it will be conducted by their respective provinces. 

Participants conveyed that they are ready to take on the challenge of their new role as health education and promotion officers of the community.