SWP urges legislators to prioritize the health workers in the UHC | SWP PR 3 Sep 2018
SOCIALWATCH PHILS·MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 3, 2018
SWP urges legislators to prioritize the health workers in the UHC
The Social Watch Philippines urges legislators to prioritize the welfare of health workers in the Department of Health budget for 2019 #2019PHBudget.
The Senate period of interpellation on Universal Health Care (UHC) Bill, a measure certified as urgent by the President, and the House Committee on Appropriations hearing on the 2019 Department of Health budget are expected to happen today, Monday, 3 September.
According to SWP Co-convenor Dr. Ma. Victoria Raquiza, the legislators should also care for the health workers, who are the heart and soul of the health system.
“The UHC Bill process is critically linked to the health budget legislation phase. A conscious effort to invest in the health workforce who provide for the services, especially at the primary level, is crucial for an effective, efficient, and equitable health service delivery,” SWP Co-convenor Dr. Raquiza said.
The Philippines is amidst a workforce crisis. In 2014, using available government data, the Coalition for Primary Care estimated that the country’s health workforce to population ratio stood at 2.3:10,000, which is ten times less than the 23:10,000 doctors, nurses, midwives to population ratio established by WHO needed to deliver only essential maternal and child health services.
The inadequacy of frontline health workers results to inequity. Data from Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) show that 6 out of 10 Filipinos who die, die without ever seeing a health professional. This is especially true in Geographically Isolated and Disadvantage Areas (GIDAs). In addition, there are still 51 doctorless municipalities in Regions 8 (Eastern Visayas), 9 (Zamboanga Peninsula), 10 (Northern Mindanao), 11 (Davao Region), Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), and Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
On the other hand, SWP maintains that the longstanding issue on the absorptive capacity and budget utilization of the DOH is also a health workforce issue. “Public health demands technical competency and adequate number of workforce at the service delivery, policy-setting, and program management levels. Achieving UHC takes a workforce. There is a need to constantly strengthen the health sector’s organizational capacity and front-line workforce so that it can deliver the much-needed services. We call on Congress to look into and act on the funding requirements for the needed number of health workers at all levels.” Dr. Raquiza added.
Meanwhile, the SWP welcomes the leadership of the Department of Health on the UHC, elaborating the need for the immediate passage of the bills that calls for the increase in tobacco tax, in particular, Sen. Ejercito’s Senate Bill 1605 raising tobacco tax to P90/pack. ‘It is high time that the Senate and Congress pass the bill to further raise taxes on cigarettes as this will not only make the health system UHC-ready through adequate financing, but to ensure that the health of the Filipinos and the determinants of health, such as tobacco, is addressed. This health measure, and a good Universal Health Care, will be this government’s enduring legacy” Raquiza said. ##
#UHCLawNow #SayYesToUHC #TaxTobaccoToTheMaxNow #TaxTobaccototheMax4UHC
Isagani R Serrano Marivic Raquiza Jeck Reyes-Cantos Rene Raya Janet Crndng Mars Mendoza Sheic Sims Dhel Lubyo AKTIB Philippines Carol Claudio Tax Tobacco to the Max Elijah San Fernando RoseAnn Batuigas Maria Fatima Villena Ralph Emerson Degollacion Lottie Salarda
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