Meeting DOH Secretary Janette Garin
The anti-Dengue campaign and the ZIka virus issues were the limited embodiment of my perception of the Philippine Department of Health (DOH) before I met Secretary Dr. Janette Garin.
So upon receiving the invitation for an intimate blog conference to keep abreast with the milestones and challenges of the DOH in the past two years which is basically the term of Dr, Janette Garin, I immediately said yes, piqued by the interest of health concerns both on the local level and those relevant in the international arena as well.
The recent press conference was held a few weeks ago at the function room of Outback Steakhouse beside Ascott Hotel in Makati City where the honourable secretary arrived on time and ahead of some of the guests.
She started the program with a presentation of the recent milestones and challenges by the DOH. Here is a brief rundown of some of the issues that were discussed:
Philippine DOH Achieving Universal Health Care
Hinged on accomplishments in policy, political will, funds, and governance, Dr. Janette Garin was glad to announce that the Philippines was able to achieve Universal Health Care (UHC) during her term.
Having started in 2011, UHC has strengthened in the areas of Financial Risk Protection, access to quality health services, and attainment of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Each of these are detailed below.
Financial Risk Protection
Dr. Garin exhibited a stronger financial risk protection through her presentation statistics showing a comparative analysis of the following:
- DOH budget
- Premium Subsidies for Indigents
- Health Facilities Enhancement Program (HFEP)
The DOH budget has increased from around 30+ billion pesos in 2011 to about 120+ billion this 2016. On the other hand, the premium subsidies for indigents has increased as well from around 5 billion pesos in 2011 to well over 40 billion this 2016.
Moreover, the National Health Insurance Act of 2013 were enforced with the aim to enroll all Filipinos under NHIP with an established system for enhanced benefits and claims system for the members and ensured quality services from PhilHealth accredited providers.
Furthermore, the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010 & 2014 Amendment were pursued with a mandate to offer Philhealth coverage for all Senior Citizens.
In total, the DOH claims that they were able to achieve a 92% Philhealth coverage of the categorically “poor” at about 45 million beneficiaries including 5.8 million senior citizens.
Access to Quality Health Services
This milestone is highlighted by the Health Facilities Enhancement Program (HFEP) which the Department of Health says have improved the quality of LGU hospitals and decongested tertiary and specialty hospitals.
Detailed implementations include the following programs, among others:
- Basic Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care (BEmONC)
- Comprehensive Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care (CEmONC)
- Accreditation for
- Primary Care Benefits (PCB)
- Maternity Care Package (MCP)
- TB-DOTS Package
And together with these program, of course, is an increase in the HFEP budget from 5+ billion peso budget in 2012 to 26+ billion in 2016.
Attainment of Health-Related Millennium Development Goals
In terms of the Millennium Development Goals, the Department of Health pronounced that they were able to improve utilization of goods and services, decreased maternal deaths given the maternal mortality ration of 129 in 2010, down to 114 in 2015.
Moreover, efforts to achieve a “Fully Immunized Child” has increased from about 80% in 2012, to about 90% in 2014. New vaccines were also introduced for Rotavirus, IPV, Dengue, PCV 13, and Influenza.
Mortality rates in children has also decreased for both IMR and USMR, from 34 to 27 and 25 to 19, respectively. The numbers is a percentage per 1,000 live births (source: NDHS).
The same positive trend is achieved in service provisions for HIV/AIDS (despite increased incidence), as well as TB and Malaria cases.
Secretary Janette Garin also emphasized on the department’s achievements in terms of NCDs and Vaccines for Senior Citizens, In particular, the management of maintenance medications for Metoprolol, Amlodipine, Losartan, and Metformin. She also mentioned the Pneumococcal and Influenza vaccines which has reached 4 million and 2.1 million indigent senior citizens, respectively.
The State of Philippine Health Services
In summary, the Philippines obviously has a long way to go in providing a total health care for most Filipinos in terms those in need, specially when compared to our neighbouring ASEAN counterparts, much less with the rest of the world.
However, after this blog conference, I believe that the Department of Health (DOH) has made a significant leap these past years specially the last two years under Secretary Janette Garin‘s wings.
It is important to note as well, that Dr. janette Garin has recognized the big help of the Sin Tax Law in providing the much-needed budget which has helped their agency in the past few years and hopefully moving forward.
And now, with the new Duterte administration, whether there will be a new DOH secretary or Dr. Janette Garin will be retained by the president, we are rest assured that the Department Of Health is on a good track ahead.
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Lastly, I would like to congratulate the DOH and Dr. Janette Garin on steering this government agency to a higher platform in terms of implementations and milestones achieved!
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Jonel Uy is the EIC of BloggerManila.com. Graduating from UP Diliman with a degree in Computer Science, he is also the Managing Director of #DigitalCircles.asia engaging and amplifying social media campaigns for brands. On Mondays, he teaches information technology classes at Grace Christian College. Know more about him at JonelUy.com