Assessment of the occupational health and safety system in local health centers in Metro Manila
European Journal of Public Health
The environment of health care workers (HCWs) is considered as one of the most hazardous settings due to the nature of their work. In the Philippines, this continues to be overlooked in terms of programs and services on occupational health and safety (OHS). One possible reason for this is the existing information gap on OHS which limits data comparability and effective monitoring and assessment of interventions. This study assessed the OHS system in 13 barangay health centers in a selected city
... in a selected city using the 6 building blocks of a health system framework. Assessment was done through walk-through surveys, documents review, and key informant interview. Qualitative data from the interview were coded using NVivo while quantitative data were summarized using EpiInfo. Results showed that there remains to be gaps in terms of improving occupational health and safety in local health centers. In terms of leadership and governance, a general policy on OHS for all local health centers was found to be lacking and in effect, an absence of health and safety committees. In terms of financing, the lack of a separate budget specific for OHS programs and services was also found to be a limitation. As a result, there was no OHS personnel identified and only one staff had valid training on OHS among all 13 health centers. There was also no established information system for OHS in place. Only 2 out of 13 health centers have Safety Inspection Reports while only three have Workplace Environment Monitoring Report. Based on the results of the study, there is a general need for improvement in terms of the occupational health and safety system in the city where the health centers were situated. Among all the elements of the occupational health and safety system, the lack of an overarching policy on OHS resulted in the absence of health and safety committees, inadequate budget and worker specific services for OHS, lack of related trainings and workshops, and poor information and reporting system. Key messages Data on conditions of OHS systems in the local health center setting are limited, thus the study provides information on areas of improvement for health systems strengthening. There is a need for policies on OHS in the local health center setting to strengthen the system for improved service delivery, information management and financing for OHS.