LEGAZPI CITY: The Department of Health updated its road map for the “Salud para sa Gabos” (Universal Healthcare) program in the Bicol region for 2012 in the Healthcare Forum conducted October 22 by the Provincial Government of Albay in partnership with the Health Active Information Network (HAIN) at the People’s Hall, Albay Capitol here.
“As of May this year, 1,015,101 household beneficiaries in the region have been enlisted in the National Health Insurance Program (NHIP) of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth),” said DOH V Assistant Director Chito Avelino.
The expansion in Philhealth coverage and benefits is one of the steps taken by the DOH to attain the three strategic thrusts of the Universal Health Care (UHC) program under the Aquino administration.
These thrusts are financial risk protection, improved access to quality hospitals and healthcare facilities and attainment of the millennium development goals (MDGs).
“Poor families covered by the NHIP are entitled to no-balance-billing (walang dagdag-bayad) when admitted in any government ward facility so they need not pay any single cent. However these families should be monitored to ensure that they know their entitlements and responsibilities,” Avelino said.
Hospitals and health facilities in the region have also been improved.
Further efforts have likewise been conducted on the attainment of the MDGs particularly on reducing maternal and child mortality, morbidity and mortality from Tuberculosis and Malaria, and incidence of HIV/AIDS including the recent Chikungunya cases reported in Albay province.
To fill up the deficiency in community health workers, the DOH has trained and employed community health teams in the region. These teams assist in providing the health needs of families, disseminate health information, and facilitate communication with other health providers.
With the added budget allotted for the improvement of healthcare services in the country, Avelino urged health personnel to do their part to ensure that the budget is properly used.
For year 2012 DOH received the biggest budget increase of P42 billion and P53 billion for 2013.
Also discussed in the said forum are the recent amendments on the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill.
Among the major amendments are guaranteed public access to information on RH services, funding support to both modern and natural family planning methods, flexibility in the teaching of RH and sexuality education and emphasis that the bill is not a population control measure. – PIA