By Ernie Reyes
MANILA — Pilot provinces for the implementation of the Universal Health Care (UHC) Act need greater support from the Department of Health (DOH), including more resources for the improvement of primary health care facilities and the training of health workers.
Sorsogon Gov. Chiz Escudero said not all local government units (LGUs) in the 33 pilot provinces for UHC implementation have sufficient budget for health spending to be able to establish the functional health care provider network (HCPN) required by the UHC law.
“The pandemic response of different LGUs across the country shows the glaring gap in their health capacities and their unpreparedness for UHC implementation. While all mayors and governors are willing to spend on health, the fact is, there just is not enough money to spend,” said Escudero, whose province Sorsogon is among the pilot provinces.
While Sorsogon has been laying the foundation for HCPN for the past three years, achieving International Organization for Standardization (ISO) for all its nine public hospitals, most provincial governments are still struggling with the health burden from COVID-19 and have minimal or no resources left to prepare for UHC implementation. (ai/mtvn)