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DOH Secretary pushes for needed reforms to achieve Kalusugan Pangkalahatan

The Department of Health underlined the health reforms needed for the achievement of the Universal Health Care (UHC) at the 13th National Forum on Health Research for Action last November 20, 2012 at the Pan Pacific Hotel, Manila.

In his speech, delivered by Assistant Secretary Madeleine De Rosas-Valera, the DOH Secretary stressed that evidence-based approach is a crucial element in ensuring that right reforms are made to attain UHC. He said, “Evidence must guide us in charting the next steps for universal health care. Evidence is crucial in sound policy making and implementation.”

Sec. Ona cited possible reforms for Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) and the local health systems, namely: 1) identifying fair and acceptable fee for doctors and expanding the benefits of PhilHealth; 2) putting the municipal health systems under the provincial government in order to address fragmentation of various local health systems and ensure viability and sustainability of programs in the provinces; and 3) defining rules of engagement and scope of services of the private sector to encourage public-private partnership.

Arguing that the Philippines has institutions devoted to health policy research, Sec. Ona insisted that finding strong research to utilize for policy reforms to achieve Kalusugan Pangkalahatan should not be impossible. “What is needed, instead, is to avoid duplications of research outputs in order to save time, effort and resources. The Philippines can learn from other countries that went through reforms to achieve UHC. Through model examples from countries such as Mexico or Thailand, the Philippines can benchmark strong strategies to achieve the success of our own version of UHC,” said Sec. Ona.

The Secretary asserted that through these reforms the country can finally attain Kalusugan Pangkalahatan. He insisted that the health sector’s full support for evidence-based reforms is needed for the attainment of the UHC. He said, “Let us strengthen the culture of policy research in the health sector and ensure the generation of effective policies and programs that will significantly uplift the health of our people.”