ADB OKs $600-M loan for DOH, PhilHealth implementation of UHC Law
With the implementation of the Universal Health Care Law (UHC) in full swing amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has extended a $600-million loan to the Philippines to ensure access for all Filipinos.
In a statement on Friday, Manila-based ADB said the newest financing to support the Department of Health’s (DOH) universal health-care program would help “the government’s initiatives to improve the financing and delivery of health services and implement measures to monitor the performance of health service providers.”
Specifically, ADB said this program would “expand the use of digital tools for the sector and ensure sharing of data among health information systems and databases” to enhance the implementation capacity of the DOH and the state-run Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) together with other government agencies, local government units (LGUs), as well as the private sector.
With the gradual devolution of health services to LGUs starting next year due to the implementation of the Supreme Court’s Mandanas-Garcia ruling, the ADB loan will also help the LGUs expand health promotion and improve access to health-care workers and health-care facilities.
The national government will transfer the provision of health and other services to LGUs, which will enjoy bigger budgets in 2022 due to their larger share from internal revenue taxes.
Also, the ADB said it would “administer a $2-million technical assistance grant from the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction to support the implementation of health policy reforms in LGUs.”
“The ADB will provide technical advice as the government prepares to implement the next set of universal health care-related reforms by 2023,” it added.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted existing constraints in the country’s health-care service delivery, which the government sought to address in its pandemic health response. This program seeks to boost the government’s ability to achieve its universal health-care goals and provide timely and equitable health-care services, especially for the poor and marginalized across the country,” ADB director of human and social development for Southeast Asia Ayako Inagaki said.
—BEN O. DE VERA
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.