Giving Palawan communities access to medical care


A groundbreaking collaboration between government and private sector stakeholders launched a pilot project in Palawan that will improve access to health services, as well as availability and affordability of specified medicines for various conditions.

Known as the “Tulay sa Kalusugan” (Bridges of Health), this project is an initiative of the Palawan Access to Medicines Project—a public-private partnership between stakeholders of the healthcare industry.

Included in this initiative is the Department of Health (DOH); provincial government of Palawan; local government units (LGUs) of Puerto Princesa, Brooke’s Point, Narra, Roxas and Coron; and major research-based biopharmaceutical companies Novartis, MSD, Pfizer and Sanofi. Several non-government organizations, medical societies, and academic institutions are also participating in the project.

“The DOH welcomes this pioneering public-private partnership that supports the government’s UHC [universal health care]mandate of ensuring that every Filipino receives affordable and quality medicines and health services,” said Health Secretary Enrique Ona.

The internationally known Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is also contributing to this important effort through financial support in development and implementation of evaluation programs of the project.

This collaborative effort will benefit the community by improving the affordability and availability of medicines for hypertension, diabetes, pre-eclampsia and childhood pneumonia. The gaps in maternal and child health as well as the rising incidence of non-communicable diseases in the country are the key targets of the pilot project.

Together with existing and planned service and drug packages, Tulay sa Kalusugan aims to support the achievement of universal health care in the Philippines by providing patients in the five aforementioned LGUs with more affordable innovative medicines through participating government health facility pharmacies.

Besides providing more affordable innovative medicines, the project will implement health system strengthening activities such as capacity building for health workers to enhance disease management and simple information technology tracking systems to improve data collection. It also includes a patient education and awareness campaign.

Designed by a steering committee composed of government officials, pharmaceutical executives and other healthcare stakeholders, the pilot project aims to strengthen healthcare services and increase access and availability to more affordable innovative medicines in Palawan.

“Through Tulay sa Kalusugan, we hope that Palawan can become a model of more affordable, and sustainable quality health care in the Philippines,” said Dr. Anthony Faraon, PAMP program manager concluded.


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