Good Governance in Public Health, Kaya Natin!

by Jess Lorenzo

Posted at Oct 28 2012 12:12 AM | Updated as of Oct 28 2012 08:12 AM

President Aquino in a speech in Netherlands said, “Nang ako’y kongresista pa, may nakausap akong grupo student nurses. Nang aking tanungin kung ilan ang maiiwan sa Pilipinas, sa 80 sa kanila, 2 lamang ang sumangayon na magsisilbi sa bayan.” He also continued by saying that 40% of the population will die without seeing a health professional in their life.

This highlights the big problem that we face especially with the large poor population in the country. This lack of access coupled with expensive health costs presents a big dis-enabler to development and anti-poverty.

Meanwhile, the incidence of pneumonia in the country has risen from 652,000 in 2001 to almost 768,000 in 2008. By 2010, World Pneumonia Day says the Philippines is among the top 10 countries with the highest incidence of pneumonia. This disease is the biggest cause of child death from 0 to 5 years old followed closely by diarrhea. In 2010, PhilHealth payed close to P2billion for Pneumonia claims alone.

Aside from children, seniors are also vulnerable to diseases. We ran our surveys over 79 barangays with 8,000 senior respondents. We found that there is already a fast growing rate of senior population in the country. In 2010, DSWD and DOH estimate that by 2030, our senior population will grow to about 10%. Just this year, from our surveys with the several barangays, there are many who are already seniors at 8% of the population. At this rate, we expect the 10% to be overshot.

We also found that about 25% of our seniors are hypertensive. About 15 to 20% are diabetic. Based on WHO and National Statistics estimates, over 6.1% of our population will be diabetic by 2030. At this present rate, we will be in the top 10 list of countries with the highest incidence of type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Kaya Natin continues to translate good governance by initiating programs that improve public health in different areas. Almost all our efforts are focused on community and local government development on health.

In Nueva Ecija, we have partnered with Gapan City and Mayor Christian Tinio together with KN Champion Sonia Lorenzo to run a senior wellness program. This program is a community based engagement to increase the awareness towards Non- Communicable Diseases. These are lifestyle sicknesses such as Hypertension and Diabetes. In just a month, we have surveyed more than 1,300 seniors in Gapan City. From 2010 to 2012, KN Champion Sonia Lorenzo has engaged more than 8,000 seniors from different municipalities in District 4, Nueva Ecija thru this program.

In North Cotabato, Board Member Shirlyn Macasarte has launched SAKLAY and she runs a PWD development program which has covered 17 municipalities. Board Member Shirlyn has run programs that provide prosthetics and empower PWD’s thru election registration. She has partnered with PAPO (Philippine Alliance of Patient Organization), ULAP(Union of Local Administrators of the Philippines), COMELEC, and Asia Foundation to encourage municipalities to register PWD’s in the coming election thru the “Fully-Abled Nation” Program. She has also partnered with Physicians for Peace, led by Dra. Penny Robredo-Bondoc, sister of the late Sec. Jesse Robredo.

In Quezon City, Cong. Bolet has partnered with Merck to strengthen health leaders towards improved maternal health. Since January, in-facility birthing in Pansol and Loyola increased to 87% thru the HL4M or Health Leaders for Mothers program. This year, KN Champion Cong. Bolet Banal will be expanding to as much as 15 Barangays in order to improve maternal health care.

On November 8 - 10, Kaya Natin is also launching the Champions For Health Program in Cebu where we will engage local government units towards Local Health Board development. We expect to have as much as 15 mayors and local government executives during forum. On the first day, the discussion will be framed with Good Governance & Ethical Leadership talks and sharing. The second day will delve into Public Health and the role of the Local Government. The third will be a workshop in Public Health Innovations. After the third day, we hope the LGU’s will put together development programs which will address the primary health needs in their areas. We believe that we need to focus on strengthening the LGU’s in improving health access in the country.

As we move towards strengthening primary health, we also launched the Dakilang BHW Awards which is initially piloted in Metro Manila. This, together with the Champions for Health was initiated by KN Champion Senator TG Guingona.

Soon, we will also be launching the KN-MSD Champions Public Health Governance awards. This is a program where we will highlight 5 local government units who are examples of good governance in public health.

Last June 7, 2012, I was in a forum sponsored by the GT Metrobank Talk at the Manila Doctor’s Hospital. During the open forum, DOH USEC Dr. Teodoro Herbosa mentioned that there are only about 10% of the local health boards which are functional.

As much as much as Kaya Natin has a national perspective in good governance, we believe that our efforts need to be localized in order to translate our views and see the relevance in our work for others to appreciate.

Kaya Natin Champion Board Member Shirlyn writes, “I have been in public service for most of my life, my near loss of life and limb had been an epiphany of sorts; an awakening into what my new lease on life should be: to take public service to a higher plane by taking up the cudgels of the vulnerable sectors of society...” Board Member Shirlyn Macasarte was injured in an ambush. She has been walking with a cane or crutches since then.

For our Kaya Natin Champions, Good Governance is not business. It is personal.

Comments are welcome at [email protected] or private message through Facebook. Follow me on Facebook and Twitter @jesslorenzo for stories of good governance.

Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.