Multistakeholder forum on universal healthcare system held
For the second consecutive year, the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth), Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health (ASMPH) and Novartis Healthcare Philippines have worked together to hold a multistakeholder policy forum on universal healthcare (UHC).
Held on Oct. 16 at the Fairmont Hotel in Makati City, “UHC II: In Pursuit of Access, Quality and Financial Protection” aims to increase Filipino patients’ access to and participation in PhilHealth services. About 120 participants attended the forum and included top officials of the Department of Health (DOH) and PhilHealth, local government executives and representatives of public hospitals and patient groups. Health Secretary Enrique T. Ona keynoted the forum.
“By gathering the inputs of key healthcare stakeholders and experts from the public and private sectors, this important forum can help Filipinos maximize the benefits of the government’s UHC provision by empowering them to actively participate in PhilHealth and DOH programs,” PhilHealth president and CEO Alexander A. Padilla said.
Office of the Chairman of PhilHealth Board head of executive staff Dr. Leizel Lagrada said: “PhilHealth is continuously finding and implementing ways to enhance our services for the benefit of Filipino patients. We thank our partners in the private sector for their proactive support in achieving our shared goal of universal healthcare.”
The forum’s packed agenda provided officials of the DOH and local government hospitals with an ideal venue to discuss ways to enhance existing programs to maximize point-of-care coverage. Special sessions generated “on-the-ground” inputs from local government executives on how to effectively communicate PhilHealth benefits to members and to design preventive health programs and supplementing programs that encourage and help people to take responsibility for their health. Through inputs from patient groups’ representatives, the forum helped PhilHealth and healthcare providers enhance their programs by taking into account patient perspectives and best practices.
Former health secretary and current ASMPH dean Dr. Manuel M. Dayrit, said: “Public-private partnerships offer a truly viable and sustainable way to make quality healthcare more accessible and more affordable to the Filipino people, especially the poorest segment of the population. We are privileged to work with PhilHealth and Novartis to make UHC a reality in our country.”
Thomas Weigold, country president and managing director of Novartis Healthcare Philippines, said: “Increased access does not guarantee better patient outcomes. An integrated health system strategy using evidence-based practices can improve outcomes, which in turn, improve public health and lower direct and indirect healthcare costs. Novartis will continue to work with government and other private sector stakeholders in enhancing healthcare sustainability.”
Christine Fajardo, Corporate Affairs and Market Access director of Novartis Healthcare Philippines, said: “Novartis is privileged to partner anew with PhilHealth and Ateneo in our shared goal of enhancing the country’s healthcare system and providing quality health services to all Filipinos. This second multistakeholder policy forum builds on the gains produced by the first UHC forum held last year and aims to sustain the success we have achieved so far.”
First UHC forum
The first UHC forum was held in September 2012 at the Ateneo Professional Schools Building in Rockwell Center, Makati City. It focused on how to leverage social health insurance and other health financing strategies in order to achieve sustainable quality healthcare delivery and optimal patient access to health care. The forum also disseminated technical and practical knowledge to forum participants on how to utilize health financing, particularly social health insurance, toward achieving better health outcomes particularly in public healthcare settings.
Other forum speakers and panelists were Philippine Foundation for Breast Care president Marilou Cortez; Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines executive director Sonia Lorenzo; Dr. Cecilia Acuin, Universal Health Care Study Group consultant, UP-National Institutes of Health; Social Weather Stations Sampling, Processing and Data Archiving director Gerardo Sandoval; PhilHealth Corporate Planning Department group vice president Ruben John Basa; Dr. Lito Acuin, Research Utilization chair, Philippine National Health Research System, De La Salle University; National Kidney and Transplant Institute’s Dr. Aileen Riego-Javier; Inquirer columnist Rina Jimenez-David; Dr. Alan Haycox, Liverpool Health Health Economics Group director, University of Liverpool Management School; Southern Philippines Medical Center chief of hospital Dr. Leopoldo Vega; CARD MRI managing director Dr. Jaime Aristotle Alip and Medical Emergency Relief International country health director Dr. Francisca Cuevas.
Philippine Star columnist Cito Beltran and Rappler editor-at-large and president of Journalism for Nation Building Foundation Marites D. Vitug served as forum moderators.
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