Aquino to poor: Avail of free healthcare
MANILA, Philippines – Knowledge is power.
This is President Benigno Aquino III's belief and the idea behind PhilHealth's newest initiative, Alaga Ka program.
On Monday, March 24, Aquino launched the Department of Health (DOH)'s newest program, which aims to educate Filipinos about the services provided by the DOH and PhilHealth. The program is targeted at the 14.7 poor families across the country.
"Isn't it that more people can take advantage of our health programs if more people know about it? The progress of hospital services are only worth something if our countrymen go to our hospitals for check-ups. Our medicines are only helpful if these reach the sick," he said.
"With this initiative, it is certain we can minimize the number of people who suffer just because they do not know of the services available for their sicknesses."
Aquino said part of the services available to the people include micronutrient supplements, maternal and neonatal care package, as well as family planning. He said treatment packages for tuberculosis and free treatments in public hospitals are also part of the program. (READ: #SONA2013: The state of public healthcare in the Philippines)
"It is clear that with the services provided, we believe 'prevention is better than cure.' Instead of being content with curing sicknesses, we are giving Filipinos the power to prevent sicknesses and avoid it from spreading," he added.
Role of LGUs
In the past 3 years, the President said the scope of PhilHealth and its services has been expanded. He cited the following developments:
- Rehabilitation of government health facilities
- Deployment of thousands of doctors, nurses, midwives and community health teams to remote places
- Primary Care Benefit, which provides counseling on health risks and cancer-screening
Alaga Ka, which translates to "You are cared for," is a collaboration between PhilHealth, DOH, local government units (LGUs), and other stakeholders in the health sector.
Aquino emphasized the need for local officials to be involved, in order for the initiative to succeed. They are the ones "who are ingrained in their communities" and "know best about those who need care" in their places, he said.
He also praised the passage of the Sin Tax Reform Law and the Reponsible Parenthood Law, which, he said, has helped the government care more for its people. The government spends the bulk of additional sin tax revenues for the universal health care program. – Rappler.com