By Anna Valmero
MANILA CITY, METRO MANILA—The Department of Health (DOH) proposed a budget of P54.6 billion to help continue the agency’s universal healthcare program, particularly the provision of health insurance to the 5.2 million poorest families in the country.
This proposed budget is about 25 percent higher than what was approved in 2012, said DOH secretary Enrique Ona.
The Office of the Health Secretary will receive the biggest allocation from the proposed fund at P39.5 billion to fund priority programs that support the universal healthcare program.
Of this, P12.6 billion will be allocated for the enrollment of 5.2 million indigent families to the Philippine Health Insurance System (PhilHealth) as part of the Universal Health Care program.
The universal health care program is a vital component of the government’s integrated anti-poverty framework. It complements the the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), education grants, and housing support, added Ona.
Under the proposed budget, P13.5 billion will be allocated to the the Health Facilities Enhancement Program will be used to upgrade and modernize selected barangay health stations, rural health units, district, provincial and DOH-retained hospitals.
Ona added that P2.8 billion will be poured into the program for the doctors-to-the-barrios and rural health practice program for the deployment of the fourth batch of 22, 500 nurses under the Registered Nurses for Health Enhancement and Local Service (RN HEALS) project and midwives to with conditional cash transfer (CCT) beneficiaries.
Some 221 medical doctors will also be introduced to doctor-less municipalities.
For the National Pharmaceutical Policy Development (including provision of drugs), DOH plans to allocate P1 billion will provide complete treatment packages to 1, 395 rural health units and 160 district hospitals in 4Ps municipalities.
The expanded program on immunization will get P1.9 billion for the full vaccination coverage of eligible children under 11 old months for Bacillus Calmette-Guarine (BCG), Diptheria Pertussis Tetanus (DPT), oral polio vaccine (OPV), hepatitis B, measles, tetanus toxoid, measles-Rubella, pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, and rotavirus.
The cost of vaccines for pneumococcal and influenza for indigent senior citizens is also included under the family health and responsible parenting program.
The proposed budget for infectious diseases program include the procurement of anti-TB drugs, anti-malarial drugs, anti-rabies vaccines, diagnostic kits, and insecticide-treated beds, among others.
The remaining budget will be allocated as follows: P304.5 million for the Commission on Population, P327 million for the National Nutrition Council, P13.5 billion for the Health Facilities Enhancement Program, lodged under the Priority Social and Economic Projects Fund, and P908 million for the specialty hospitals.
To help promote research and applications on traditional healthcare methods, about P40 million of the proposed budget will go to the Philippine Institute for Traditional and Alternative Health Care.
“The proposed 2013 budget will put us closer to achieving our Millennium Development Goals and strengthen the administration’s promise of universal health care for all Filipinos,” Ona said.
Meanwhile, Ona stressed the need for legislators to pass the tobacco and alcohol excise tax reform bill and the reproductive health (RH) bill to support the health agenda of the government.
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