UHC bill passage to improve health service delivery: DOH
By Ma. Teresa Montemayor
MANILA (Philippines News Agency) — The passage of the universal health care (UHC) bill would correct the inefficiencies in the current health system as it will empower community health units in the provision of quality health care to every Filipino, the Department of Health (DOH) said.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) in an interview on Wednesday that the UHC bill aims to provide comprehensive health care to all Filipinos, especially those pushed to poverty because of illnesses.
Duque added that the bill also aims to address the disorganization in the delivery of health services under the current system.
“What makes our current health system inefficient and expensive is people with the most simple health issues go now to the third level, the hospitals, kaya naman mapangasiwaan ito sa barangay (which can be attended to at the community) health stations which are basic delivery units closest to the communities,” he said.
Duque explained that this practice would help Filipinos lower their expenses on health care since they don’t have to travel far just to receive treatment for common health disorders.
In the case of serious health problems, Duque said community health units are instructed to refer the patients to rural health units, city health center, district hospitals, provincial hospitals or specialty centers on heart, lungs and kidney ailments.
Apart from improved health service delivery, community health units are expected to perform their primary health care tasks with diligence.
“Sisiguraduhin nila na ang iniinom ay safe sa cholera, typhoid, E. coli, water and sanitation services which are basic, risk management and assessment, health promotion, advisories like huwag masyado kakain ng matatamis na pagkain, huwag uminom ng labis na alcohol, huwag manigarilyo (They will ensure that drinking water is safe from cholera, typhoid, E. coli, water and sanitation services which which are basic, risk management and assessment, health promotion, advisories like don’t eat too much sweets, don’t drink too much and don’t smoke),” Duque said.
He added that the prioritization of primary health care could help Filipinos avoid serious illnesses and complications, which result in lack of creativity and productivity.
“Malaki ang pakinabang nito sa ordinaryong mamamayan kasi kapag ang tao ay produktibo kikita siya sa pamamagitan ng kanyang konting buwis makakagawa ang gobyerno ng pondo na makapagbibigay ng libreng pagamutan at mga gamot (This helps ordinary citizens because if a person is productive through his small tax contributions the government can generate funds that will provide free hospitals and medicines),” he said.
Stressing that UHC is for all Filipinos including the poor, Duque said that the first step to receiving UHC is PhilHealth membership.
“PhilHealth membership ay libre magpapalista lamang sa kanilang local social welfare development offices at magpatala sila sa 4Ps program. Halibawa may ischemic heart disease ka at kailangan mo ng operasyon, pwede kang mabenepisyuhan ng health package ng PhilHealth (na) PHP500,000 na malaking tulong kung mahirap ka (PhilHealth membership is free you go to your local social welfare development offices and be enlisted under the 4Ps program. For example, you have ischemic heart disease and you need surgery you can benefit from PhilHealth’s health package of PHP500,000 which is a big help if you’re poor),” he said.
On Wednesday, the DOH held a press briefing about the UHC bill and the effect of tobacco tax increase on it.
Senator JV Ejercito, Chairman of Committee on Health and Demography, attended the event and reported that the bill is pending in Congress and is expected to be passed in October. (PNA)