DOH begins consultations for Universal Health Care law rules

Robie de Guzman   •   June 13, 2019   •   2394

The Department of Health (DOH) on Thursday began the public consultations for the drafting of the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Universal Health Care (UHC) Act.

The DOH said the first public consultations for regions 1, 2 and Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) will be held in Baguio City from June 13 to 14.

The agency said the conduct of a series of public forums across the country aims to make the process of drafting the IRR inclusive and consultative.

“We want to hear from different stakeholders most especially the public because it is truly the Filipino people who will benefit from the UHC,” the DOH said in a statement posted on Twitter.

President Rodrigo Duterte signed the UHC into law last February 20.

The law makes all Filipinos members of Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth), either as direct or indirect contributors, providing immediate eligibility and access to preventive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative care for medical and emergency health services.

The measure urges the private sector to help provide improved health benefit packages for Filipinos to reduce their expenses.

The DOH has been given 180 days to outline and complete the law’s implementing guidelines.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said they are now moving to fast track the implementation of the UHC law.

“It is a big undertaking and we’re now laying the groundwork for the sustainability and effectiveness of this reform that aims to address a number of gaps in our health system,” Duque said.

The DOH said the current draft of the IRR was put together with the help of various stakeholders and representatives from the public and private sector.

The agency said the public consultation for Visayas and Mindanao areas will be announced in the coming weeks through DOH official social media accounts.

The DOH earlier expressed confidence it will be able to finish the draft before the 180 days and the law’s implementing rules will be available by July or August this year.

Number of dengue cases in NCR exceeds alert threshold – DOH

Maris Federez   •   August 16, 2019

A child suffering from dengue fever receives medical treatment at an isolation ward of a government-run hospital in Manila, Philippines, 16 July 2019. (Photoville International)

The National Capital Region (NCR) has recorded more than 11,000 dengue cases from January to August 10 this year.

This is 33% higher than what was recorded in the past five years.

“It’s starting to rise and just like the other regions that began with the alert levels, naging epidemic level na sila [they’ve reached the epidemic level]. Pwede pa ring sumipa ang dengue. Kaya hindi ho tayo pwedeng magpahinay-hinay [Dengue case can still go up. That’s why we should not be complacent],” Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque said.

The cities in the NCR where dengue cases have spiked include Paranaque, Malabon, Taguig, Makati, and Mandaluyong.

The DOH clarified that no medicine, supplement, or vaccine had been proven to cure dengue.

The health department also supports the move of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) to fund the distribution of food supplements which may help increase an individual’s platelet count to avoid dengue.

“Wala namang gamot ang dengue. Wala ring bakuna. At kung meron man sila ng inaalay na makakagamot, hindi po totoo iyan. Ito po ay food suppmement lamang at kinakailangan merong FDA certificate of product registration [There is no medicine for dengue. No vaccine either. And if there are some who offer something that’s supposed to cure dengue, it’s not true. It’s just a food supplement and it needs to have FDA certificate of product registration],” Duque added.

The health official then reminded the public to clean their surroundings and eradicate dengue-mosquito breeding areas through the 4 o’clock habit using the 4S strategy:

  • Search and Destroy
  • Self- Protection
  • Seek Early Consultation
  • Support Space Spraying

This is to further prevent the number of dengue cases in Metro Manila to further exceed the health department’s alert threshold. (from the report of Aiko Miguel) /mbmf

DOH lauds House approval of alcohol tax bill

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 15, 2019

The Department of Health (DOH) has lauded the approval of House Bill 1026 or the bill seeking to increase taxes on alcohol products.

In a statement, the DOH said increasing excise taxes and other public policies on alcohol are ways to reduce pubic alcohol consumption.

“Increasing the excise tax on alcohol products is the best buy and win-win intervention for reducing alcohol consumption and increasing revenue for health,” according to the DOH statement.

The DOH has reported that the number of road and traffic accidents in the Philippines attributable to alcohol has reached a total of 10,372 fatal and non-fatal accidents from 2016 to 2018.

“The continuing partnership between DOH and the House of Representatives is certainly a positive proof that we are united in protecting the health of the Filipino people,” according to Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III.—AAC

DOH belies bribery allegations by families of Dengvaxia vaccinees

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 12, 2019

Families of children who had Dengvaxia vaccine rally in front of the Department of Health in Manila, 01 October 2018. (Photoville International)

The Department of Health (DOH) has belied the accusation made by families of Dengvaxia vaccinees that they received a P50,000 bribe from the department.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III clarified that the P50,000 financial assistance did not come from the DOH.

“Iyang ayuda na iyan galing iyan sa Office of the President so hindi iyan galing sa DOH. Ito lamang ay dahil sa malasakit ng Pangulong Duterte para sa mga magulang na namatayan at gumastos para sa kanilang wake at paglibing at mga iba pang mga gastusin (That assistance came from the Office of the President, not the DOH. It was borne out of President Duterte’s concern for the parents of alleged Dengvaxia victims who had to pay for the wake, burial and other expenses),” he said.

This was after reports that several families of the Dengvaxia vaccinees are accusing the DOH of bribery after the department has offered them P50,000 financial assistance.

Several of them said they were asked to submit original documents and other information. They think these would be used as evidence in order to bring back the use of Dengvaxia amid the rise of dengue cases.—AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

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