Devolved LGUS hit DOH “neglect”

While it had its advantages of being funded and paid locally, devolved Dept of Health personnel nationwide are lamenting over the apparent “neglect” by the national DOH including the failure of the DOH to release in full of its annual assistance to provincial and city local government units over the years.

For instance, the city health office of Dumaguete has not yet received its budgeted P5Million assistance from DOH this year with two more months to go at year-end. Last year 2015, the local city health office received less DOH assistance as budgeted , and in trickles.

Many devolved DOH officers in the country sides are experiencing the same predicament.

That is why the entire national staff of DOH under Sec Paulyn Jean Rosell-Ubial, were meeting here in Dumaguete and the country sides for two days ending yesterday, because the new DOH under Pres Duterte is focusing its attention to the health workers and the poorest of the poor in the field.


The Department of Health (DOH) is in the process of defining a system that will ensure entitlement of every Filipino of the services both for the well and the sick in all life stages including a lot of implementation issues as well as guarantees in achieving a sustainable development goals as part of the Administration Health Agenda (AHA).

These were among the major national health issues take up during the first national staff meeting of the DOH held in Dumaguete City, from October 20- 22, 2016.

DOH Sec. Paulyn Jean B. Rosell-Ubial was joined by the DOH family all over the country such as regional directors, assistant secretaries, undersecretaries, chiefs of hospitals, doctors and nurses, among others.

Ubial said centerpoint of the AHA included three goals, three guarantees and three values that would lead to the attainment of the 13 Sustainable Development Agenda (SDGs)


A guarantee of essential health services for instance would free patients from the burden of completing the rabies vaccine doses for animal bites or drugs for tuberculosis patients. This will be included in the formula that will be guaranteed by DOH so that local government units will make sure they are available.

To achieve the goals, a seven-point strategy will be put in place such as financial risk protection, better health outcomes and responsive health systems and the values attached to it is efficiency, effectiveness and responsiveness.

Ubial considered as crucial the matter of defining the entitlements particularly on who shall pay for the services and goods availed of by the patient, how to provide these services for free, which facilities shall they go to in order to access these entitlements, whether government has the capacity to provide these to all Filipinos, how many personnel shall be trained, how many facilities that need upgrading such as clinics and diagnostic facilities, how many barangay health stations to be built and the like.


To provide with all these guarantees, the DOH needs seven strategies which is contained in the acronym ACHIEVE, Dr. Ubial pointed out.

A-stands for health promotion, primary care and quality for health services that is pre-illness to address a concern that Filipinos would only go to a heath facility if they are sick so that even the well is seen at the health facility, provide them with primary care and check up packages to ensure that they will remain healthy and stay well.

C-stands for coverage of all Filipinos against financial risks through the national health insurance program, H-is to harness te power of strategic human resources for health, I-is investme3nt in electronic health and data for decision making to ensure that data is captured accurately in real time so make accurate decisions and policies.

E-stands for the enforcement of standards accountability and transparency.

V-is value clients and patients because they are the most important individuals in a health care facility and the reason for the existence of health personnel and professionals and E-to elicit multi- stakeholder and multisectoral support for health.

These are the seven strategies to attain the Philippine Health Agenda 2016-2022, which Sec. Ubial discussed during the opening ceremony.

On hand to welcome the guests and participants to the first national staff meeting of the DOH family is Gov. Roel Degamo who is confident all his requests for the improvement of the central block building will not be put to waste with Ubial as the DOH secretary.


Another area that needs to be defined is on what essential health packages are for pregnant women so that budget will be guaranteed for the screening of HIVAIDS and when positive, will be provided with free drugs. Likewise, if government decides to provide all women with multi vitamins like ferro sulfate and folic acid, free tetanus toxoids, she can get it even if she goes to a private clinic. Under the guarantee system, the national health insurance shall pay for the delivery expenses be it in the berthing home or in the hospital.

If caesarean, the DOH will identify how much as caesarean section would cost, and how much will be covered by Philhealth so that there will be no surprises and no impoverishment of the Filipino people because even if they go to the private clinic there is a guarantee on how much will be paid, while zero amount will be paid if they go to a government facility, in this way the patient is empowered to make the right decisions.

In implementing the service delivery network which is long overdue, the DOH secretary said the moment a patient comes to a barangay health station and needed a heart surgery, that patient will get it and it will be the health system that will take care of the poor. If the poor patient needs a transportation service, not necessarily an ambulance in going to a tertiary hospital, the hospital will pay for the transpo services either habal-habal or rent-a-van and charge it to Philhealth so part of the Philhealth reimbursement will be the transportation services for the poor. Ubial said this is a guarantee that will ensure the poorest of the poor really avail the appropriate health services that they need and there’s no reason for them not to get it.


Even referral for rehabilitation, for physical therapy, occupational therapy, the service delivery network will guarantee that for the poorest Filipinos.

The other guarantee is for a Universal Health Insurance coverage to provide maximum benefit to poor patients so that Philhealth is now crafting new packages that will actually address the common health needs of the poor.

Ubial also said it is planning to increase the premium collections and premium payments for government employees because as of now the contribution is only 2.5 percent of their salaries and there’s a cap of P35,000. It will be changed to 5% and with no cap, which means the richest Filipinos will be contributing more to the national health insurance fund.

(By Choy Gallarde)

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