Duque: Universal Health Care implementation critical to PHL Covid response

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III

Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III on Friday emphasized the importance of continuing the whole-of-nation approach as he highlighted that scaling up the Covid-19 response entails delivering on the Universal Health Care (UHC) promise.

“We need to seize the national transition to the New Normal to bring primary care at the forefront come 2021. Sa ating patuloy na pag-implement ng [As we continue to implement the] Covid-19 response, we were able to accelerate our attainment of the UHC, partikular sa pangako ng batas na magkaroon ng isang [particularly in the promise of the law that there will be one] primary care provider per family beginning with ensuring that every household has an assigned barangay health emergency response team or BHERT,” Duque said during the Committee on Finance Senate Budget hearing.

Meanwhile, in an online media forum of Department of Health (DOH), Health Assistant Secretary Kenneth Ronquillo said that the pandemic helped fast-tracked the UHC law implementation and that they considered it as a test case for law’s implementation.

The DOH and its attached agencies and corporations submitted a P 203.74 billion budget proposal for 2021, 27 percent higher than its 2020 budget.

Duque underscored that the nation’s recovery from Covid-19 crisis is heavily dependent on being able to sustain a resilient health system.

“We hope to bring to attention today the key investments we aim to undertake to make enduring changes to our health system,” he said stressing that the present status of the country needs to push the reforms of UHC to make sure that Filipinos are protected and taken cared of.

He also stressed that the approval of the proposed budget will set the scaffolding for the anticipated Covif-19 vaccine roll-out next year to prioritize the most vulnerable members of society.

“The Department is scaling up its distribution and service delivery mechanisms. However, if we have to cover the most vulnerable, estimated at 20 million Filipinos, we need P12.9 billion for vaccine procurement,” he said.

Duque also committed to the collaborative process of good governance to maximize the Department’s resources in 2021 in support of said objectives.

He assured the Senate that the DOH will spare no effort to swiftly and decisively manage and control the current pandemic, just as their counterparts in the legislative department.

“We appeal to our good Senators to prioritize this need to ensure the safety of millions, especially as we continue to reopen the economy,” the health chief appealed.

Image credits: AP/Aaron Favila


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