MANILA — President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. has instructed new Health Secretary Ted Herbosa to form a COVID-19 exit plan as well as focus on tuberculosis and HIV cases, the health chief said Thursday.
Herbosa, a former Special Adviser to the National Task Force Against COVID-19, said this was among the marching orders of the Philippine leader when he appointed him as health chief.
"Sinabi niya 'yung COVID, kailangan ng exit plan para makalabas na tayo sa COVID at matuloy-tuloy ang mga kinakailangang mga bakuna, tinatawag nating bivalent vaccines," Herbosa said in a televised briefing.
The country's COVID-19 task force earlier last year said the pandemic exit plan must include strict implementation of health protocols. Government may require the public to show their vaccine booster cards in establishments.
Stakeholders, meanwhile, have urged government to improve the country's health care system.
The Philippines last week tallied 9,107 COVID-19 cases, based on the Department of Health's case bulletin on Monday.
From May 29 to June 4, an average of 1,301 daily infections were logged in the country, which is 22 percent lower compared to the previous week.
TUBERCULOSIS AND HIV
In the interview, Herbosa said he also received marching orders to focus more on the problem of tuberculosis cases in the country.
"Sinabi niya sa akin, number 9 ata tayo sa dami ng may tuberculosis compared sa ibang bansa. Gusto niya mawala tayo sa top 10 so tututukan natin yan, ang kanyang inutos na 'yan," he added.
He said Marcos also raised concerns on the rising HIV cases in the Philippines, and this will be the top health official's focus too "upon his instructions."
This will be the Department of Health's priorities for now, he said, and other action officers have been mobilized to focus on tuberculosis, HIV, and COVID-19 cases.
LOWER EXPENSES ON HEALTH CARE
Meanwhile, Herbosa said there was a need to digitalize the agency's processes to improve their system, now that the government already launched the eGovPH platform.
"Napakalaki ng organisasyon at Kagawaran, at kailangan gawin siyang efficient. Naisip ko na gawing digital ang solusyon para gumanda," he said.
"Plano kong maging digital ang pamahalaan para ang financing, procurement, delivery of services ay magagawa sa pamamagitan ng telemedicine, digital health at digital methodology," he said.
Herbosa also aimed to lower the expenses of the public when it comes to health care, saying this is the intention of the Universal Healthcare Law.
"Sisiguraduhin natin na kung ikaw ay mahirap at walang pambayad, ikaw ay hindi na maglalabas ng additional na pera and we will make sure na gaganda ang serbisyo sa mga pampublikong ospital sa ating mga health centers."
Video from RTVM