By Leilani S. Junio
MANILA, Aug. 14 (PNA) — The Department of Health (DOH) conducted a National Health Summit on Friday to highlight the scaling up of the different local health services and interventions, remarkable achievements and other plans of action in line with the goal of making healthcare services accessible to all Filipinos, especially in the poorest and remotest areas of the country.
The summit, held at the Marriott Hotel in Pasay City, was spearheaded in cooperation with the different DOH’s partner agencies and stakeholders, including the European Union in the Philippines (EU).
“August 14, 2015 is a date that will be long remembered, for gathered here today are the country’s movers and shapers for this important business we call health,” DOH Secretary Janette L. Garin said in her speech.
She highlighted the DOH’s achievements under the “Kalusugang Pangkalahatan (KP)” or Universal Health Care Program in providing financial risk protection through the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth).
Among these is the increase in the budget of the DOH which allows them to finance more major health programs not only in government hospitals and rural health units but also in partnering with other agencies to fully achieve the KP goal as the Aquino administration’s Health Agenda Legacy.
The DOH chief cited that the “KP” financial risk protection was made possible among the indigent populations with the support the agency received from the creation of the “Sin Tax Law” under the current administration of President Benigno S. Aquino III, the country’s legislators and other concerned sectors.
“Kalusugang Pangkalahatan” is President Aquino’s health agenda with three thrusts: 1) to provide financial risk protection; 2) secure access to quality services and facilities; and 3) achieve public health under the Millennium Development Goals.
Dr. Garin said that while achievements have been made, much is still to be done in order to fully achieve and make the promise of “KP” a real reality for ever Filipino, especially in the poorest communities that deserve to enjoy better health care services.
“And that is not enough; wala pong hinto at patuloy nating paglaban sa tawag ng ‘KP’,” the DOH chief added as she stressed the need for continuous partnership or convergence strategies so that the KP can reach further by bridging gaps and eliminating barriers for it to be fully enjoyed by the Filipino people.
“While achievements have been made, clearly, there is still work to be completed, relationships to be fostered and most importantly, partnership to be strengthened,” Secretary Garin said.
To ensure that such can be achieved to its full potential, she said she has partnered with the Department of Education (DepEd) to implement different health programs such as dental and “school-based check-up” not only among the public school children but also of their entire family.
With the tie-up, the delivery of dental needs as well as the immunization programs, check-up and other services needed can be made possible within the school clinics that serve as “health stations” manned by DOH doctors and nurses in the areas where there are no available or nearest rural health centers.
Knowing that local government units (LGUs) also play a big part for the accomplishment of the health program, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) has also been tapped in the convergence strategy.
According to the DOH chief, since the huge task of taking care of the health of the population does not rest on one shoulder alone, participation of various partners in the success of the health programs is vital.
Dr. Garin stressed that competence, compassion and commitment should not be forgotten to make the “KP” more accessible and sustainable.
During the summit, DILG Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II, along with the provincial governors and representatives of other LGUs, and DepEd Secretary Armin Luistro joined Secretary Garin in the pledge of commitment and unveiling models of a school-based health station and dental bus.
To seal that partnership, they have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU).(PNA)