28 November 2008

Some Strategies for Improved Health Care

Photo courtesy of buck pago
Philippines is envisioned to be a responsive society comprised of empowered and productive Filipinos of all ages with access to health, nutrition and population management services that are essential to achieve full human potential leading to a sustainable improvement in the quality of life.

In pursuing this objective, the performance of the health sector needs to be enhanced, the burden from infectious and degenerative diseases must be reduced and health care financing must improve its benefits and expand its membership. Aside from these, regulatory mechanisms must be adequate and strengthened, health care delivery system must be appropriate with fiscally autonomous government hospitals, and local health systems developed.

Transforming the health care delivery system into one that is more dynamic, efficient, effective and responsive to devolution, the following strategies may have to be pursued in the medium-term:

  • In health care financing, measures will have to be introduced to improve program performance and administrative infrastructure;
  • For the local health system, inter-LGU linkages will have to be strengthened, health human resources will have to be developed in order to synchronize development of hospital systems and public health programs, private organizations, non-government organizations, and communities’ networking will have to be strengthened;
  • Government hospitals will have to be revitalized along a corporate set-up and regulatory mechanisms must include new mandates to strengthen its functions; and
  • Public health problems like Tuberculosis, Malaria, Vaccine-Preventable Diseases, Schistosomiasis, and Reproductive Health, including Family Planning will have to be addressed in a sustainable manner.
Possible instruments may be explored to implement these strategies and attain the objectives are financial and technical cooperation with the funding donors. Financial cooperation is important because an estimated PhP 112 billion is required to enhance health service delivery for hospital and public health, strengthen health regulatory processes and improve health finances. About 45 percent of these amount will be earmarked for hospital reforms, 35 percent for public health, 16 percent for the local health systems, 11 percent for health care financing and 3 percent for regulatory agencies.

Technical cooperation will also have to be pursued in the areas of systems development for financial and management autonomy for hospital set-up, local health cost sharing and networking systems, and accreditation and quality standards of hospital and public health for integration with PhilHealth.