THE Philippines will receive a new multimillion-dollar loan from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to finance the universal health care (UHC) program.
In a statement on Wednesday, the Manila-based multilateral development bank said it approved a $450-million policy-based loan to also help the Philippines strengthen health policy reforms.
The new loan will be allocated for the Build Universal Health Care Program (Subprogram 2) to scale up the government’s efforts to implement key reforms under the UHC Act of 2019.
“The Build UHC Program is part of ADB’s commitment to deliver long-term support to the country to ensure all Filipinos have equitable access to quality health services without exhausting their finances,” said ADB Principal Health Specialist Eduardo Banzon.
“The program will also help ensure the reforms are responsive to gender-specific health issues and the impacts of climate change on people’s health and well-being,” Banzon added.
The health reforms include sustainable financing for UHC, the integrated delivery of quality health services, and the interoperability of health information systems.
The new program also builds on previous ADB support provided under Subprogram 1 and technical assistance financed by the Japan Fund for Prosperous and Resilient Asia and the Pacific approved in November 2021.
Under Subprogram 2, the government has adopted an updated health financing strategy, a national medicine access policy, and the National Health Data Repository framework.
ADB said the Green and Safe Health Facilities scheme has been implemented to ensure public health facilities are disaster-resilient, environmentally sustainable, and gender-responsive.
The number of available primary care providers was increased, and primary care benefits were enhanced under the National Health Insurance Program, including the enhancements of inpatient benefits.
ADB has been a partner of the Philippine government since 2016 in crafting and implementing the UHC Act, and has been supporting government efforts to boost the health system.
This includes assistance during the Covid-19 pandemic via the Health System Enhancement to Address and Limit Covid-19 and the Second Health System Enhancement to Address and Limit Covid-19 under the Asia Pacific Vaccine Access Facility, which helped secure much-needed Covid-19 vaccines for Filipinos.