Vice presidential candidate Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. over the weekend said he wants to replicate in the entire country the successful health care program he began in Ilocos Norte that he implemented when he was governor of the northern province.
Speaking before officials and employees of the Chinese General Hospital in Manila, led by its president and chairman of the board Dr. James Dy, the Ilocano senator noted that the Ilocos Norte health program has enabled those in far-flung areas to have access to doctors and other health programs.
“My solution was to bring health care to the people. First, our health workers conducted medical missions four times a month in isolated barangay [villages]. They created a database of medical records of residents, making diagnosis and treatment easier in their subsequent visits,” he said.
After a while, the program targeted to cover 75 percent of the residents of the province who did not have any health insurance coverage with the cost shouldered by the provincial government.
Marcos said they not only achieved the 75 percent target coverage but the program even became self-sustaining later.
Eventually, he added, the medical missions were institutionalized into Rural Health Units (RHUs) with permanently assigned nurse and midwife and a doctor available for at least two days of the week to cater to basic health problems of residents.
“Now our residents especially those in far-flung villages, who had found it difficult to go to hospitals not only because they lack money for transportation, but also because of other concerns such as having to leave their family and their work, have regular and easy access to health care professionals and workers and our health programs,” the senator pointed out.
Because of his pioneering efforts, the Department of Health (DOH) has lauded all-out efforts of the provincial government of Ilocos Norte to implement the Universal Health Care (UHC) program to attain its Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) targets by 2016.
It also noted that Ilocos Norte is doing well in achieving the UHC agenda, particularly addressing the five programs in maternal care, infant care, under five, HIV/AIDS and establishment of a Service Delivery Network.
Marcos earlier called for more RHUs in the country, saying majority of health problems that people experience are common ailments that health personnel of the RHUs and barangay health centers can adequately address.