P43-B spent to upgrade gov't hospitals - DOH

by Sheila Crisostomo, The Philippine Star

Posted at Apr 13 2014 11:23 AM | Updated as of Apr 13 2014 07:23 PM

ROMBLON – Since 2010, the Department of Health (DOH) has spent more than P43 billion to rehabilitate and equip government health facilities across the country, although majority of them are under the management of local government units (LGUs).

DOH Secretary Enrique Ona said the agency has already infused some P43 billion through its Health Facility Enhancement Program (HFEP) to make sure that adequate health services are within the reach of poor Filipinos.

Ona said most health facilities are no longer under the jurisdiction of the DOH, but of LGUs because of devolution. The DOH, however, still deemed it necessary to step in and help upgrade them.

He said most of these facilities were not responsive to the health needs of the Filipinos, citing a 2010 study of the National Economic and Development Authority that showed 30 percent of Filipinos die without seeing a doctor.

“Our strategies are three-pronged as far as diseases are concerned. They are inter-related so they should all be pursued to achieve our goals,” he said.

The first approach, Ona said, is primary prevention which includes vaccination and health education.

“It is also in primary prevention where we want to discover who have diabetes, hypertension, coronary problem, high cholesterol and others.”

Secondary prevention covers early diagnosis, requiring the presence of laboratory, X-ray, ultrasound, mammogram, colonoscopy, ultrasound and other diagnostic equipment.

The third approach is early treatment or early curative, which may require adequate and quality equipment in the health facilities.

“Through all those years, the DOH was giving attention to primary prevention. It has neglected the secondary prevention and early curative. Hospitals were forgotten, there was inadequacy in equipment and doctors were lacking,” Ona said.

The DOH chief said through HFEP, the agency was hopeful that most hospitals in the country would be able to provide quality care to patients.

Under HFEP, the DOH provides funding assistance for infrastructure and procurement of equipment to government health facilities.

Maximo Adan Jr., chief of the Infrastructure and Equipment Division at the DOH’s National Center for Health Facility Development, said the agency does not look at “political color” when choosing a beneficiary.