PBBM vows to lower drug prices, bring healthcare closer to people

July 25, 2022 People's Tonight 241 views

AFFORDABLE medicines for ordinary people and the establishment of easy-to-reach hospitals and health centers for Filipinos living in far-flung rural areas are among the priorities of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

“Beyond the issues that the pandemic has brought, the need for a stronger health care system is self-evident. We must bring medical services to the people and not wait for them to come to our hospitals and health care centers,” Marcos said in his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday.

Marcos noted the importance of having the healthcare system close to the community, especially in the rural areas lacking medical and health workers.

“Para mailapit natin ang healthcare system sa taumbayan nang hindi sila kailangang pumunta sa sentro ng kanilang bayan, lalawigan at rehiyon. Maglalagay tayo ng mga clinic at Rural Health Unit na pupuntahan ng mga doktor, nurse, midwife, at med tech isang beses sa isang linggo — nang sa gayon, magiging mas madali sa may karamdaman na magpagamot nang hindi na kailangang magbyahe nang malayo (We will bring the health care system closer to the people so that they will no longer have to go to the centers of their town, province, and region. We’ll put up clinics and Rural Health Units [RHUs] to be visited by doctors, nurses, midwives and med techs once a week — it would be easier for the sick to be treated without having to travel far),” Marcos said.

In 2020, the Department of Health (DOH) reported that the country has around 3,900 primary care facilities. Of the tally, about 2,593 are RHUs and/or health centers (HCs).

The plan to bring the health care system close to the people was initiated in the DOH’s Philippine Health Facility Development Plan (PHFDP) 2020-2040 under the Duterte administration.

The PHFDP articulates the required investments for health facilities and follows the service delivery model envisioned in the Universal Health Care (UHC) Act of 2019 – a primary care-oriented and integrated health system.

Highlighting that only 50 percent of Filipinos have access to an RHU/HC within 30 minutes of travel time, the PHFDP also emphasized the country needs an additional 2,400 RHU/HCs by 2025.

Marcos said additional hospitals and health centers would be built where the existing medical facilities are too far from the populace.

Marcos is also seeking the help of both houses of Congress to pass a law that will create the country’s first Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and a vaccine institute. Philippine News Agency