SEN. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go is hopeful that there will be improved access to quality health care this year since he was able to secure enough funding for this under the P5.2 trillion 2023 national budget.
The senator in a statement on Monday said he “successfully” pushed for more funding for various health initiatives in 2023, particularly for poor patients.
The chairman of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography lauded President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. for signing the 2023 national budget law in December 2022.
He also commended fellow lawmakers and public servants from concerned departments and agencies who put in long hours on the budget process, which began in September 2022.
“This budget is very important and critical as we are gradually undertaking our inclusive recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic,” Go said.
“Given these allocations and mandates, it behooves everyone to ensure that no Filipino shall be left behind as we recover from this global health crisis as one united people,” he added.
Go had sought additional funding for medical assistance for indigent patients; construction of Super Health Centers (SHCs) and specialty centers; Cancer Assistance Fund (CAF); hiring of vaccinators to strengthen the immunization program; funding for the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. for expanded free dialysis coverage, mental health outpatient coverage, comprehensive outpatient benefit package including free medical checkup and other improvements in benefit package; and mental health programs.
He deplored that in some cases, patients share one bed and even have to endure being treated at the hospital corridor, since there were not enough rooms.
“That’s the reality here in the Philippines. That’s why the more we should invest in our health care system,” Go said.
He also secured an additional budget for the Health Facilities Enhancement Program (HFEP) and for health emergency benefits and allowances for public health care workers.
“By helping Filipino cancer patients and their families pay for the cost of cancer treatment and its care-related components, such as the necessary diagnostics and laboratories for the eight types of cancer that have been identified as priorities, the CAF aims to lessen the burden on them,” he said.
The Department of Health said that CAF “aims to complement and supplement existing financial support mechanisms for various cancer care and control services that are not yet covered by existing government and private-related efforts.”
Go vowed to continue pushing for the establishment of more SHCs throughout the country in a bid to improve health care access among Filipinos, especially in rural areas.
He said that the SHCs are medium versions of polyclinics and are bigger than rural health units, which offer basic services such as database management, outpatient, birthing, isolation, isolation, diagnostic (laboratory: X-ray, ultrasound), pharmacy and ambulatory surgical unit.
Other available services are eye, ear, nose and throat service, oncology centers, physical therapy and rehabilitation center, and telemedicine, where remote diagnosis and treatment of patients will be done.
Go said that the government had earlier allocated a budget under the 2022 HFEP to build 307 SHCs nationwide.
Credit belongs to : www.manilatimes.net