VP urges leaders: Healthcare for all; go beyond medical missions
In delivering crucial health services, it’s time for Filipino leaders to “go beyond medical missions and paying for hospital bills,” Vice President Leni Robredo said on Friday.
Instead, they must start to establish “a key vision for change and to be health ambassadors so [their] constituents develop co-ownership of health programs” and to institute reforms attacking the crux of health inequities, she said.
“It’s not about how many medical missions are done; it is not about how many packets of medicine are delivered; it’s not about who gets the credit… it is about about whether we are truly transforming lives,” Robredo said.
“Ultimately you must be committed to provide health services to all, especially the poor,” Robredo said at a forum about the emergence of Moro leaders as health champions in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
Robredo stressed the importance of good governance in helping the people of the ARMM rise above their station, noting that the region is among the most impoverished in the country as a result of strife and lack of development.
The former Camarines Sur congresswoman appeared in a colloquium organized by Zuellig Family Foundation in cooperation with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) at Heritage Hotel.
Speaking at the same event, US Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg cited the importance of strengthening institutions in order to achieve universal health care.
From 2012 to 2016, “USAID is contributing more than P3 billion in Mindanao and ARMM, with PP500 million specifically allocated for health activities,” the American diplomat said.
“Global evidence has shown that lasting peace and development can only be attained when institutions responsible for maintaining the economic, health and social standards of a country are transparent, strong and resilient,” he said.
Goldberg said the US government had long supported economic growth in Mindanao and would continue to do so, in partnership with the Philippine government.
“Currently we have a comprehensive program that supports efforts to improve peace and stability in focused areas in Central Mindanao and Sulu archipelago,” he said.
“In addition to health interventions, this program seeks to promote peace and security, increase equitable access to education, improve access to clean water and improve environmental resiliency,” Goldberg said.
Robredo and Goldberg congratulated Zuellig on the culmination of its “health change model” in the ARMM that sought to transform how local leaders respond to the health needs of their constituents.
Begun in 2008, the foundation now has 39 partner municipalities, or a third of the region’s 116./rga
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