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Participatory governance is key to achieving Universal Health Care

Underlining the importance of participatory approach in health governance to ensure the achievement of Universal Health Care (UHC), Dr. Alberto Romualdez, President of the Culion Foundation Inc. and the former Secretary of the Department of Health, introduced the Health Secretary’s Cup and Health Talk Series during the 6th Philippine National Health Research System (PNHRS) Week celebration.

UHC, or the Kalusugan Pangkalahatan (KP), is a government mandate that aims to ensure affordable and quality health benefits for every Filipino by allocating adequate resources to health in terms of health human resources, health facilities, and health financing.


Dr. Romualdez cited, “One of the problems of governance is we really have no explicit consensus on equity in health. Secondly, our decision making processes continue to be top-down and so our other implementing processes.”

Dr. Romualdez stressed that only by allowing every sector of the society to participate in the decision-making can UHC become possible. He said, “We need to have a mechanism that is participative, where all actors have a voice in decision making. This is the very reason why the Health Secretary’s Cup and Health Talk Series is launched.

Through the collaboration of the DOH, the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (PCHRD-DOST) and University of the Philippines – Manila (UPM), the Secretary’s Cup will provide a platform for various sectors in the country to learn and exchange insights about UHC. “This entire effort of publicizing and getting people to talk about Universal Health Care is basically one way to get everybody talking of the same thing and agreeing on how much health service should be provided to everyone,” Dr. Romualdez said.

The Health Talk Series will be held from November 2012 to May 2013, highlighting the six building blocks of the health system, namely: health governance, health information system, health regulation, integrated health service delivery, health human resources, and health financing.

Dr. Romualdez explained that while the national government has already made UHC a policy, engaging the public to be part of the program is still a challenge. He hopes that through the Health Secretary’s Cup all sectors will be empowered to participate in making UHC possible. He said, “We ask everyone to be involved in raising the consciousness of the people, especially in the communities, of what UHC is all about.”