Issue of July 9, 2017
Mt. Province

Panagbenga Flower Festival
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PHA spelled out during Gotad
by Marcelo B. Lihgawon / PIA

LAGAWE, Ifugao – Local chief executives serve as key partners of the Department of Health in the new Philippine Health Agenda (PHA) with the battle cry “All for health towards health for all.”

DOH Usec. Mario Villaverde, guest of honor and speaker during this year’s Gotad ad Ifugao said the PHA aims for financial protection for patients especially the poor; better health outcomes for all Filipinos; and for all Filipinos to feel respected and empowered in their interactions with the health system.

“This is in line with the so-called three wars that President Rodrigo Duterte wants us to wage: the war against illegal drugs, corruption and criminality, and poverty and ill-health. We want to ensure that every patient receives the very best possible care regardless of differences in age, socio-economic standing, sex or gender,” he said.

To achieve the health for all slogan, the DOH formulated “Achieve” as an overall strategy. The letter “A” stands for advancing primary care and quality where the DOH plans to create networks for primary care providers contracted by PhilHealth for outpatient services to conduct annual health visits to poor families and provide other outpatient services.

“C” is for covering all Filipinos against financial catastrophe. This will be done by mobilizing more funds and improving PhilHealth enrolment.

“H” is for harnessing human resources, where the DOH will develop more responsive and service-oriented curricula for health professional. Scholarship and return service programs will also be available with options for financial or no-financial incentives.

“I” is for investing in digital health and data for decision making. A unique health identification card will be proposed which will be only requirement for patients at a hospital, clinic, or any facility. By leveraging telemedicine, patients in the different regions will no longer need to travel to Metro Manila to see specialists.

“E” is for enforcing standards, accountability and transparency. “To streamline processes and efforts, the mandate of the DOH and its attached agencies must be clarified. In improving transparency, the prices of common drugs and services will be published as well as any providers that are non-compliant.”

“V” stands for valuing all patients, most especially the poor, and being vulnerable. Any procedure or commodities that will be given to patients must be explained in clear and understandable terms. Information covered by the freedom of information policy will be readily accessible to the public.

“E” is to elicit multi-sector and multi-stakeholder support for health. This will require much work and support of not just the health sector but all sectors of society.

“The Achieve strategy, as seen in our accomplishments so far, leans heavily towards promoting primary health care at the local government unit level. We understand that only by working hand in hand with our partners at the local level can we reach our goals. This is where local chief executives become key partners for us in the DOH. Our success will be dependent on how well we are able to translate our national initiatives at the local level,” Villaverde said.

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