Five local government units (LGUs) were given recognition on Thursday for improving the state of public health in their communities despite limitations of budget.
The event, Champions for Health Governance (CHG), “pays tribute to best practices in local health programs…in line with the millennium development goals of the United Nations,” according to Rep. Leni Robredo, the guest speaker at the awarding rites.
Robredo said the program encourages LGUs to do better in delivering basic health to the people.
Ten finalists were selected from 48 LGUs who applied, and five were declared winners, each receiving a P200,000 prize.
The awardees are San Pablo, Zamboanga; Valenzuela City; Carmona, Cavite; Tayabas, Quezon; and Anilao, Iloilo.
The other five finalists were Caloocan City; Marikina City; Opol, Misamis Oriental; San Mateo, Isabela; and Tagundin, Ilocos Sur.
San Pablo, Zamboanga, being one of the five winners, implemented innovative and effective programs like “Roads to Health,” “Bahay ni Nanay” and “Sakyanan ni Nanay” despite the limited budget and little attention from the national government.
The program Roads to Health, according to San Pablo Mayor Belman Mantos, focused on constructing and repairing roads for better and faster transportation from the town and residences to hospitals and clinics.
“From the usual 15 kilometers of travel to hospitals, now it is reduced to 7 kilometers,” Mantos said.
“Our costs are little because we’re complete of heavy equipments, and I personally go to the sites where they gravel the streets. We do all things hands on,” he added.
Mantos said they saved more than P800,000 in costs of gravelling the roads and had free supply of gravel from mountain quarries and rivers.
Bahay ni Nanay and Sakyanan ni Nanay provide midwife services and transportation to laboring mothers.
The projects in San Pablo helped brought down the maternal deaths for every 100,000 live births, from 774 to zero since 2010.
“Our finalists and awardees have shown that the lack of resources is not a hindrance to providing their constituents with effective, responsive services,” said Harvey Keh, director for youth leadership and social entrepreneurship of the Ateneo School of Government.
Four million families nationwide have no access to health care, and denied of basic health services just because they do not have enough to pay for their health care.
Health Undersecretary Ted Herbosa said that their biggest problem is health facilities, and the government is trying to address it through the health service enhancement program.
“We [national government]have been supporting local government through health facilities enhancement program. The good [of this program]is that we invest in infrastructure and equipment,” Herbosa said.
Herbosa also said the national government will provide health facilities to LGUs based on performance of each local government.
The awarding body includes the Department of Health, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), global pharmaceutical company Meck Sharp & Dohme (MSD)-Philippines, Kaya Natin! Movement for Good Governance and Ethical Leadership, and Ateneo School of Government.
KRISTYN NIKA M. LAZO