DOH official assures health programs for indigents, IPs

BAGUOI CITY– A health official assured that government health programs being implemented reach each and every Filipino including indigents and indigenous peoples.
Dr. Roger Tong-an, Health undersecretary for Health Administration and Financial Management, said the DOH is putting premium to better health outcomes through functional and streamlined service delivery for Filipinos.
“As the steward of health, DOH will continue to make significant leaps and strides to expand the arsenal of healthcare services and bring these services closer to people anchored on the basic construct that health is a matter of right and not a privilege,” Tong-an said in his keynote message during the Ibaloy Day celebration here in the city last weekend.
Tong-an, an Ibaloy native, said President Rodrigo Duterte is giving priority to health programs for indigent and the indigenous peoples in the country including the Ibaloys and other groups in the whole of the Cordillera.
The Office of the President, he informed, earmarked this year more than P8 billion from his office to be used by indigent patients for hospitalization and medicines including persons undergoing dialysis, surgeries and operations and even cancer patients.
Tong-an said various government hospitals in the region are undergoing rehabilitation and upgrading to be used by indigent patients. Among the facilities are the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center, the Luis Hora Memorial Hospital in Bauko, Mountain Province and the Far North General Hospital and Training Center in Luna, Apayao. He added that more government hospitals are up for upgrading.
He acknowledged that with Pres. Duterte’s recent signing of the Universal Healthcare law, “we now have in our hands the golden opportunity to redesign our health system; one that is equitable, inclusive, resilient and responsive to the evolving health needs of the people.”
“The enactment of the Universal Healthcare is definitely not the pinnacle of our efforts, as it is merely the start of introducing reforms in the health system to ensure the delivery of the right kind of services to the Filipinos, especially the poor, marginalized and vulnerable. However, these reforms take years toward full implementation. And it demands collaboration and complementation for it to materialize. Hence, we need everyone’s help and support now more than ever,” Tong-an said to the more than a thousand Ibaloys in attendance during the annual celebration.
He added that building a strong system is everybody’s business. “From government to civil society to the private sector, we all have vital roles to play in improving access to quality health services. We hope to effectively harness the power of the private sector to accelerate efforts and reach every person with quality health care. We hope that everyone, regardless of age, ethnicity, gender and ability are engaged in this cause.” **JDP/RMC- PIA CAR

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