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DOH advocates community empowerment and mobilization to achieve better health outcomes

“To this day, there are still doctorless underserved communities. We are revamping our health facility system and the Department is continuing its deployment programs which intend to reach further communities which need doctors, nurses, midwives, medical technologies, nutritionists and other health professionals,” shared Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Enrique T. Ona in his message delivered by Undersecretary Nemesio T. Gako during the 85th Foundation Anniversary of the University of the Philippines-College of Public Health (UP-CPH) last June 18, 2012.

In 2011, Sec. Ona reported that the DOH has been successful in improving the lives of the poorest families identified by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

“5.3 million poorest families have already been enrolled in the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) using the national government’s fund. We are hoping to enroll more than at least 8 million families this year,” said Sec. Ona.

Stressing that clinical care and public health essentially go together, Sec. Ona said that DOH programs will not just concentrate on making hospital care available but would likewise strengthen public health interventions.

“We are currently pursuing two interventions which focus on community empowerment and mobilization to achieve better health outcomes. The first is the deployment of community health teams and the second is the support for the reproductive health bill,” said Sec. Ona.

To provide promotive and preventive health services to Filipino families, Sec. Ona revealed that the DOH already formed community health teams (CHTs) composed of midwives and barangay health workers. CHTs will be in charge of immunization services, dispensing of TB medications, vitamin supplementation, family planning supplies, and health awareness campaigns for maternal and child health.

Currently, 22,500 nurses and midwives, as well as 100,000 CHTs have been deployed to the underserved communities in the country.

“We will help families uplift their lives through the health system, direct the families to the necessary health facilities and health professionals for the most appropriate intervention health care,” assured Sec. Ona.