CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- Some 98 registered nurses attended Monday their orientation to become part of the city's health force under the Outreach Community Advocate Nurses Assigned in Rural Service or OCA-Nars program.

OCA-Nars aims to improve the delivery of health care services to the city by assigning nurses in rural service and deploying them in the city's 35 barangays.

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It is also part of the City Government's health agenda dubbed "Beinte Kwatro Oras, sa Sakit Walang Atras."

The program is an offshoot of a 2009 mitigation measure against Influenza A(H1N1), wherein registered nurses were deployed to help contain the spread of the virus.

But the city, after learning that some hospitals charge "training fees" to newly registered nurses for their practicum, launched the OCA-Nars as a six-month employment opportunity and training avenue for community health nursing.

"Mahirap maghanap ng trabaho ngayon, kahit graduate ka at may lisensya. Kailangan mo pang magbayad ng fees sa mga ospital para makapagtraining ka. Kaya thankful kami sa city government para sa opportunity ito," said John Saenz, an OCA-Nars.

The orientation for the OCA-Nars also included civil service rules, rules and regulations of the local government and employees' benefits.

Nurses under the program will help in the city's health advocacies, including vaccination, monitoring ailments and common and seasonal diseases.

They are also expected to help poor families in their application for PhilHealth cards.

To date, the city has 135 OCA-Nars members.