DOH: P144-B budget to boost rural health

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BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya: Secretary Paulyn Ubial of the Department of Health (DOH) said here recently that they will be focusing more on boosting health services in the countryside with its P144-billion budget for 2017, the biggest so far in the history of the department.

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Ubial was in the province to attend a health summit and to lead the opening of the newly constructed P150-million building of the Veterans Regional Hospital.

She said the budget for the DOH will be allocated primarily for scholarships, free medicines and more responsive national hospitals, as well as local government unit hospitals.

“We need to raise the standards of hospitals in the country by implementing the Hospital Development Plan (HDP), which seeks to address the gap in population-bed ratio,” Ubial added.

She explained that the HDP will provide an additional 17,000 beds to raise the capacity of hospitals in the country.

“It will go along with the construction of other health centers for cancer, lung, eye, kidney and blood banks, one-barangay-one- health-station and mental hospitals, among others,” Ubial said.

She added that the infrastructure support to hospitals requires an estimated P174 billion.

Ubial said the DOH will be establishing medicine outlets so that the poor will have access to free medicines at all times particularly in lowland and upland barangay (villages).

“We need to attract investors to address the high cost of medicines by putting up Pharma-Zones, which will serve as drug outlets and the poor will not be charged. Local manufacturers will help much in reducing the high cost of medicines because we are the highest in price in Asia,” she noted.

Ubial said the government will give scholarships for health courses to indigenous peoples or IPs and among those who are in far-flung communities to empower their villages.

“By investing in health education, we will expect their services in return. We do not expect that doctors will be willing to be assigned in far-flung areas, so this is the solution,” she added.

On enrolment with the Philippine Health Insurance Program, the Health chief said the government through the department will be covering the remaining eight percent of the total population.

“We will also provide for a free urinalysis check-up for the poor to prevent simple infections from becoming diseases,” she added.

Addressing complaints against some health practitioners, Ubial asked them to be kind, polite and compassionate to all patients, especially the poor.

“Let us value our clients and patients because they are the reason why we are here,” she said.

“Our plans in the Health department are intended to make health services a right of every Filipino, not a privilege,” Ubial added.

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