DOH: Philippines now with 206 primary healthcare facilities

Raphael Bosano, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 06 2022 05:36 PM

LUBAO, Pampanga – In line with Republic Act 11223 or the Universal Healthcare Act, the Department of Health (DOH) is ramping up efforts to bring primary care closer to the public.

DOH Officer-In-Charge Maria Rosario Vergeire, at the Primary Care Day launch in Lubao, Pampanga on Thursday, said a strong healthcare system means having a responsive primary care system. 

“Sa Pilipinas, mayroon na tayong 206 licensed Primary Care Facilities, of which, 98.1% is shared by the public sector and only 1.9 percent owned by the private sector,” she said Thursday.

These facilities can be found in Region 2 (71 primary care facilities), Region 5 (67 primary care facilities), CAR (39), Region 3, Region 4A and Region 4B. 

The health official said 80 percent of illnesses are not dependent on the quality of healthcare services but rather on the environment in which one lives. 

“Kaya sa pamamagitan ng primary care na naka-focus sa health promotion, ating tinutugunan ang mga environmental factors na ito — o kung tawagin natin ay social determinants of health.”

Social determinants such as sanitation, hygiene, clean and potable water, even education, play an essential role in the health of all members of the community.

Primary care facilities, according to Vergeire, will lessen the possibility of people flocking to hospitals as they will serve as gatekeepers that will guide patients to where they need to go, who they need to see, and what they need to take, depending on illnesses. 

“Ang mga nagpapatingin sa primary care facilities, around 60-70 percent pumupunta sa mga ospital even if ang sakit ay pang primary care lamang. wala kasing gatekeeper. Hopefully when the reforms are implemented, patients na papasok sa ospital ay kokonti," she said.

To bring primary healthcare closer to residents, the DOH has selected the Center for Health Development in Central Luzon as the first recipient of a primary care van which aims to go around communities to deliver primary health care services. 

Aside from a mobile van, the provincial government has repurposed its temporary treatment and monitoring facility (TTMF) into a primary care facility. TTMFs were primarily used as isolation and quarantine facilities at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The DOH does not expect to encounter issues with manpower in these facilities as the shortage in healthcare workers are felt in public and private hospitals. 

“Pag tinignan natin ang primary care facility, meron na silang nakatalaga, plantilla positions na mga healthcare workers na tumatao sa ating primary care facilities," she said.

The agency hopes the private sector will also step in to make primary healthcare more accessible.