Nearby primary care facilities inaccessible to half of PH population – DOH exec
MANILA, Philippines — Half of the country’s population still do not have access to nearby primary care facilities, an official of the Department of Health (DOH) told senators on Thursday.
In a hearing of the Senate health committee, DOH Undersecretary for Health Facilities and Infrastructure Development Lilibeth David said there are currently 2,593 government primary care facilities and around 1,500 private facilities.
“We see that 50 percent of our population still do not have access to a primary care facility within 30 minutes,” David said.
“These gaps are usually in BARMM (Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao), Bicol, and Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, and Palawan). So yung goal po natin is sana, all of our population will have access to a primary care facility within 30 minutes,” she added.
Meanwhile, David added that there are 1.2 hospital beds for every 1,000 Filipino. This is a hospital “bed density” that is comparable only to the world’s poorest countries.
“The Philippine bed density is comparable only to countries in Sub-Saharan Africa…kapareho lang po natin yung low income countries,” the DOH official said.
“If we really hope to become an upper-middle country, that target that we want to have is at least four beds per 1,000,” she added.
The Senate hearing, being led by health committee vice-chairman Senator Pia Cayetano, is tackling bills seeking to improve the country’s health infrastructure.
Among the measures being discussed include those seeking the establishment of a priority infrastructure plan for public health facilities; specialty centers attached to existing DOH hospitals medical centers; and satellite specialty hospitals that would facilitate access to specialized medical care in certain regions.
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