Benguet gears up as UHC integration site

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – – The province gears up in preparation for the full implementation of the government’s Universal Health Care program with the province identified as one of the integration sites.
Department of Health Cordillera–Cordillera Officer-in-Charge Dr. Amelita Pangilinan said the province and Baguio City are chosen as the integration sites in the Cordillera region due to their readiness in carrying out the UHC program.
The UHC program aims to achieve the transformation of the health system which ensures better access to affordable and quality health care especially the poor. The program will be fully implemented in six years starting with its transition phase this year to prepare for the establishment of the local health systems and other relevant components.
During the 2nd Provincial Health Summit attended by various stakeholders, Pangilinan said Benguet will not start from zero as an integration site as it has already taken initial steps with its existing capabilities and attributes.She cited the gains and experiences of the inter-local health zone concept of clustered health facilities and capabilities in the province.
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Nora Ruiz also spelled out the key features and components the province-wide health system currently has. They are working on the forging of an agreement formalizing the participation of primary and tertiary health providers and the list of profiled indigent families matched to a Primary Care Provider (PCP).
Under the program, each individual will be assigned a PCP for health needs. In case of higher level health care, it assists patients and their families navigate the local health system. The organized local health system is composed of network of PCPs, public health units in hospitals and apex or the end- referral hospitals.
Pangilinan said in UHC, the dream is for every iBenguet or its people to have a healthy home, school and workplace environment which allows them to choose healthy options. Matched to a PCP team working together to ensure that quality care is delivered at the right place and at the right time, health spending is predictable and people will not be forced to financial hardship because adequate and effective safety nets are already in place. This means that those who can’t afford health care will no longer have to hop from one charitable institution to another, she explained.
She stressed that the endeavor is not a work of one agency alone. The DOH and local government units will be responsible for population-based intervention and services such as immunization and health promotion programs, surveillance while Philhealth will be responsible for financing individual-based health services, said Pangilinan.
“UHC is progressive in realization. It will not happen at once or overnight. We are given six years transition phase. If we work as one, we win as one, to borrow the tagline of the just concluded South East Asia games,” she said.
“We need a group of change agents, reformers, researchers, champions because stakeholders matter,” she said. “I would encourage you to continuously own and co-own UHC and co-create strategies,” she added.
The summit’s theme, “UHC towards a healthier Benguet, “ is an affirmation that the province is already embracing the UHC Law, said Pangilinan acknowledging the province’s efforts and contributions in health reforms and also taking the challenge as one of the integration sites.**JDP/SCA-PIA-CAR, Benguet

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