Robredo: LGUs’ best healthcare practices may become state policies
MANILA, Philippines — Vice President Leni Robredo said that the national government may adopt best practices on public health currently being implemented by local government units (LGUs).
Robredo, who delivered the keynote message for the Champions for Health Governance (CHG) 2019 Awards Ceremony on Wednesday, praised the winning LGUs and their officials for finding a way to promote healthcare programs even with a limited budget.
“We need more leaders like you, who are committed to getting things done, even when things seem impossible to achieve. We need passionate leaders like you who focus on the last, the least, and the lost [among] our people, and make sure that no one is left behind,” she told the audience inside the Quezon City Reception Hall.
“Your best practices could, one day, turn into policies. These could, one day, become the norm and would benefit countless others beyond your constituencies. One day, a young mayor from another town could chance upon your program, and inspired, begin something new on his own. The possibilities are endless, and this could only happen if we commit ourselves to the dream,” she added.
CHG cited five LGUs for their role in advancing the state of public health within their vicinities. These are the towns of Vigan in Ilocos Sur, Tacurong in Sultan Kudarat, San Felipe in Zambales, Kidapawan in North Cotabato, and Cabatuan in Iloilo.
The five finalists include San Gabriel in La Union, Kapangan in Benguet, Mina and Concepcion in Iloilo, and San Remigio in Cebu. These 10 LGUs were chosen from a pool of 36 cities and municipalities nationwide.
Of the finalists, only three are full-fledged cities — Vigan, a fourth-class city; Tacurong, a fourth-class component city; and Kidapawan, a second-class city.
The rest are either second class (Cabatuan), third-class (Concepcion and San Remigio), fourth class (San Felipe, San Gabriel, Kapangan), and fifth class (Mina) towns.
Some of the ‘best practices’ include a program to increase awareness on HIV/AIDS and mental health (Vigan), encouraging people to participate in blood donation (Cabatuan), and the utilization of a competent 911 rescue center (Kidapawan).
Despite these successes, Robredo reminded LGUs of the harsh realities on the ground — the low salaries of over-burdened health workers and the status of public health in other parts of the country.
“But while we look at your accomplishments in health governance, we cannot deny the unfortunate reality: access to quality basic medical services remains an elusive dream for many Filipinos,” Robredo said.
“Barangay health workers and nutrition scholars receive very little for the long and difficult hours they put in. Many of our countrymen would travel for long hours to the next town just to see a doctor, while some couldn’t even afford the trip to bring their loved ones to the hospital,” she added.
Robredo also called on people from the private and public sectors to act on the problems of national concern.
“There is so much to be done. The state of public health today calls for us to act with urgency and purpose. This crisis should not only be the concern of nurses or doctors, of local executives or the national government. This is a trenchant problem that can only be solved if we dare to try,” she added.
“Especially now, with the recent passage of the Universal Healthcare Act, we have come a step closer to being able to meet the medical needs of every Filipino. But the law itself and the interventions of the Department of Health are just steps to achieve this goal […] To do this, we need the help of our local government units and all stakeholders,” she added. (Editor: Eden Estopace)
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.