Pilot provinces for the implementation of the Universal Health Care (UHC) Act need the full support from Department of Health (DOH), and this includes additional funding for renovation of primary health care facilities and training of health workers.
Sorsogon Gov. Chiz Escudero shares this insight that not all 33 pilot provinces involved in the implementation of the UHC have sufficient funding for health to have a reliable health care provider network (HCPN), as required by the UHC Law.
“The pandemic response of various local governments across the country will show whether a locality is capable or ready for UHC implementation. The mayors and governors want to finance the health of their respective constituencies, but the question is always, do they have enough money for this?”, Escudero wondered.
For the past almost three years, Sorsogon, which is a pilot province, has been continuously rebuilding its HCPN foundation, in fact, all nine (9) of its public hospitals have been ISO-Certified , but many provinces have exhausted their funds in fighting COVID-19.
A study by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) shows that more than half of all rural health units in the Philippines are under equipped, while district hospitals are understaffed, forcing patients to seek treatment only in private hospitals.
“In this case, UHC will fail immediately right now. If the government wants, and is determined to ensure the health of all Filipinos, it must really fund our public health facilities, especially the first line of people — the barangay health stations and rural health units. Even though health services have been devolved to LGUs, the truth is, it will still not work without DOH funding support, ”said Escudero, who is running for a new term in the Senate.