Garin hopes DOH projects continue under Duterte
As the country gears up for the administration of Rodrigo Duterte, the Department of Health hopes its next leaders would include on their health agenda the folding of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) into the DOH and the continued fielding of public health associates to rural areas lacking medical care providers.
Speaking at the launch on Friday marking AIDS Hour, Health Secretary Janette Garin said the transition report recommending placing PhilHealth under the DOH was “halfway through.”
“PhilHealth really shouldn’t be separate from the DOH. The work that we do complement each other. We already started last year to merge some of our programs and I hope this will be continued,” Garin said.
“It’s a waste of resources for PhilHealth to spend on public health programs, such as providing maintenance medication, when public health should fall under the scope of the DOH,” she added.
To help the next administration, she said the DOH was preparing a full-blown hospital development plan showing the areas in the health sector that need improvement.
“The Aquino administration was able to make universal healthcare available and achievable. The transition now is making that sustainable. If long-term planning is done, government makes better investments,” Garin said.
As for the human resources component, Garin said she hoped the Duterte administration would continue to hire unlicensed nurses and doctors as public health associates and universal healthcare implementers to ensure that remote rural areas would have medical practitioners on hand.
“The potential of these nonboard passers can be maximized by the DOH and LGUs (local government units). At the same time, we address unemployment,” Garin said.
“Their experiences could also help them pass the board exams,” she said. “We started hiring late last year and then again early this year. We hope [the program] would be enhanced.”
In relation to AIDS Hour, held on Saturday at the Quezon Memorial Circle from 6 to 7 p.m. as part of the annual Philippine AIDS Candlelight Memorial, Garin stressed on Friday the need to “fully implement the Reproductive Health Law, with focus on age-appropriate sexual education.”
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