BBM President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.

PBBM: Focus on primary health care

October 26, 2022 People's Tonight 469 views

PRESIDENT Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has stressed the importance of shifting the government’s focus to primary health care to ensure the successful fight against health crises and sustain the effective delivery of essential health services.

Marcos made the statement when Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization (WHO), paid a courtesy call on him at the Study Room in Malacañan Palace on Tuesday.

Marcos, as quoted by Malacañang, said it is time to begin recalibrating the strategies by putting a premium on primary health care, considering the country’s progress in managing the pandemic “very well”.

“We need to do that, especially now that we have learned many lessons from this pandemic,” he told Ghebreyesus. “It is the time to start. Even in the psychology of our people, they think that we are now managing Covid very well.”

Marcos sought to renew focus on general public health concerns, as he noted the increase in cases of other diseases.

“(We have to) bring back to other issues that were neglected during the height of the pandemic. There’s so much to do. We have to take care of our people,” he said.

Readiness to fight outbreaks

Ghebreyesus likewise said adequate testing and preparedness are crucial to battling disease outbreaks.

He acknowledged that the pandemic has brought so many lessons, given that more coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) variants emerge.

“I don’t think we will need different tools than we have now. It’s a matter of immediately detecting and using tools to stop it,” Ghebreyesus said.

The WHO chief also called for continued vigilance to defeat Covid-19.

“If we continue to be vigilant, we can solve it. So what I expect is for the future, maybe in the next few months or more, I think we will move forward,” he said.

Ghebreyesus is in the country to participate in the 73rd WHO – Western Pacific Regional Committee Meeting held in Manila from October 24 to 28.

Marcos and Ghebreyesus also tackled several issues concerning the health sector and the Philippine government’s post-pandemic priorities, Undersecretary Cheloy Garafil, officer-in-charge of the Office of the Press Secretary, said in a press statement issued on Tuesday night.

Garafil noted that during the meeting with the WHO chief, Marcos emphasized the need to “(find) a balance between the economy and people’s safety.”

The Marcos administration is further relaxing the Covid-19 protocols in the country to spur economic growth.

The President is also set to issue an executive order (EO) making the wearing of face masks voluntary in indoor settings, except in public transportation, medical transportation, and medical facilities.

To recall, Marcos already signed an EO in September, allowing the voluntary use of face masks in outdoor spaces. Philippine News Agency