A LAWMAKER has challenged newly-elected barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) officials to help in efforts to immunize children against various diseases.
“Ang hamon natin sa ating mga bagong halal na barangay at SK officials ay umaksyon para muli nating mapataas ang bilang ng mga bakunadong bata sa ating mga komunidad,” AnaKalusugan Party-list Rep. Ray T. Reyes said.
In a related development, AGRI Partylist Rep. Wilbert Lee said the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) should be able to fully cover the number of dialysis sessions for its members as well as implement a 20% to 30% across-the-board increase in member benefits.
Lee said PhilHealth should have no limit on its covered dialysis sessions from the current 156 dialysis sessions.
“Bukod sa dialysis, napapanahon na ring taasan o gawin na wala na ring limit sa sinasagot ng PhilHealth sa chemotherapy, heart bypass surgery at iba pang mga kinakailangang treatment sa mabibigat na karamdaman, pati na sa mga diagnostic tests and preventive measures, para mapagaan ang pasanin ng pasyente at ng kanilang pamilya,” Lee said.
Reyes said the Department of Health (DoH) recently reported that vaccine coverage among children has been on a steady decline since 2020 until 2022.
The DoH said that from 69.08 percent in 2019, the number of fully-immunized children (FIC) dropped to 65.18 percent in 2020, and to 62.86 percent in 2021.
The drop has been steeper in 2022, the DoH noted, with only 53.60 percent of children aged zero to 12 months being fully immunized.
An FIC is an infant who has received one dose of bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG), three doses of oral poliovirus vaccines (OPV), three doses of diphtheria-Haemophilus influenzae-hepatitis B (DPT-HIB-HepB) vaccines, and two doses of meningococcal vaccine by 12 months.
Reyes urged local government units to ramp up their vaccination efforts to protect children from diseases that could debilitate them or even cause death.
Besides vaccination for infants, he also pushed for local leaders to also help in getting more girls grade 4 and above vaccinated against the human papilloma virus (HPV).
“Malaki ang maitutulong ng ating barangay at SK officials sa pagkumbinsi sa mga magulang na pabakunahan ang kanilang mga anak,” the lawmaker said.
“Mabisang pangontra sa iba’t ibang sakit ang mga bakuna, kaya’t sana patuloy ang pagsagawa ng mga house-to-house at iba pang information dissemination at persuasion strategies para mahikayat ang mga magulang na bigyan ng proteksyon ang kanilang mga anak,” he also said.
He added that given the respect accorded to local officials by their constituents, they should strive to reminde and reinforce the knowledge of their communities about the importance of vaccination.
“Bigyang-diin natin na mailalayo sa banta ng sakit ang mga bata kung mabakunahan sila. Maiiwasan ang pagkalumpo dahil sa polio, at para naman sa mga batang babae, malaki ang tulong ng HPV vaccine kontra sa cervical cancer na second-most common cancer sa mga kababaihan,” said the solon.
In a television interview, Lee, a Bicolano lawmaker, reiterated that the case rates of PhilHealth need to be reviewed as it has not been adjusted to account for inflation and rising health care costs.
“With inflation, room rates in hospitals have increased… At itong case rates o basehan kung gaano kalaki ang sinasagot ng PhilHealth sa mga bayarin, hindi pa ito narereview nang mahigit 10 o 11 taon. So there’s really a need to adjust this,” explained Lee, who wrote the PhilHealth leadership in October to recommend a 20% to 30% increase in its case rates.
The former businessman added that with the existing funds of PhilHealth, “they can very well afford to adjust the 20% to 30% increase across the board… All packages, all benefits.”
Lee acknowledged that PhilHealth had already approved increases for medical treatments including ischemic stroke, hemorrhagic stroke, and pneumonia. However, “increases in all other benefits should also be implemented,” said the solon.
“Isa sa ikinakatakot ng ating mga kababayan ay magkasakit. Bakit? Because they are afraid that if they get sick, they cannot afford proper medical health care, or that if they get quality medical treatments, it will bankrupt their families,” lamented Lee.
“Bukod dito, yung mismong nagkasakit, di na makakatrabaho, they can no longer earn. So double black eye ito. Winner Tayo Lahat when PhilHealth increases their medical benefits, as we can assure our countrymen that they will be cared for when they get sick.”