An October 11, 2011 press release from the Department of Health
The Philippines is on the right track towards achieving Kalusugan Pangkalahatan or Universal Health Care (UHC).
During the Monitoring and Evaluation Equity and Effectiveness (ME3) Conference held today at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City, Health Secretary Enrique Ona expressed his optimsim about the program: “After seeing the Local Government Unit (LGU) Scorecard results of 2010, I am proud to announce that we are on the right track in realizing Kalusugan Pangkalahatan.”
Running on its fourth year, the annual ME3 conference is a gathering of local chief executives and health officials spearheaded by the Department of Health (DOH). The event was highlighted by the distribution of the LGU Scorecards, a mechanism used to assess the health reform outcomes of each province, including all the cities in the National Capital Region. Color-coded indicators are used to monitor performance in the areas of service delivery, regulation, financing, and governance.
The results for 2010 showed positive outcomes for disease prevention control and child health as the national average for TB case detection rate increased from 69% to 70.75%, finally reaching the 70% national target for 2010, while the percentage of protein energy malnutrition, or underweight children, recorded at 7.95%, far exceeded the target of 24%.
Additionally, positive outcomes resulted from both the DOH and LGUs’ efforts to improve financial risk protection. “We have significantly increased the percentage of PhilHealth membership, reaching our 2010 target and enrolling over 5.2 million poorest families identified by the DSWD’s National Household Targeting System,” Ona said.
Other areas surpassing the 2010 national targets are the access to low cost quality medicine through Botika ng Barangay and the percentage of the provincial budget allocated to health services. Areas achieving the 2010 national targets further include improved midwife to population ratios and decreases in average length of stay in hospitals in days and average hospital gross death rate.
Although LGUs excelled in certain areas, they continue to fall behind in others. “We have failed to reach our goals in maternal health care as the numbers of facility-based deliveries and the percentage of PhilHealth-accredited rural health units for maternity health packages are seriously lagging behind our targets for the year,” said the health chief, adding that provinces continue to lack physicians and midwives.
He continued to provide encouragement, however, stating: “we have much work to do, and the DOH will continue its all out support to the LGUs.”
The commitment of DOH and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to Universal Health Care was formalized by the signing of the Joint Memorandum Circular after the ME3 Conference. The Joint Memorandum Circular underscores the responsibility of the DILG and LGUs to carry out and support UHC initiatives as DOH is to uphold policies on health reform in LGUs and provide them with technical assistance and capacity-building.
Kalusugan Pangkalahatan or Universal Health Care as the administration’s benchmark for its health agenda, rests on three key points: financial risk protection through increased enrollment in the National Health Insurance Program, improved access to quality health facilities, and the fulfillment of the 2015 Millennium Development Goals, which calls for reducing infant and maternal mortality and combating diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis.