July 26

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“Soaring high for Hi5”

Last week, I attended the DOH (Dept. of Health) Health Partners meeting in Manila entitled “Soaring High for Hi5” with Mags, Partnership Advisor at Save. This was the second meeting to be held for the Universal Health Care High Impact Five (HI-5) Plan, which is focussing on five critical UHC interventions with high impact on health.

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These are Maternal Care, Infant Care, Child care, HIV/AIDS and Service Delivery Network. The driving force behind this plan is to establish patient centred care targeting the poor – to enable equal access to healthcare and ensuring it is happening on the ground. These tangible outputs should be “felt” with a breakthrough period of 15 months.

The health partners are representatives from the public and private sectors, such as UNICEF, World Bank, UNAIDS, WHO, National Nutrition Council, WomenHealth, Phil. Sports Commission, Embassy of Japan and a host of other acronyms!

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Updates on the Hi5 program to date were given, supported by Q&A throughout. A couple that stood out for me were the hospital initiatives and facility mapping. Communities in rural and far flung communities suffer with regard to access to health care. Efforts to try and address this include:

  • providing more Human Resource for Health (HRH) i.e. Doctors, nurses, community health volunteers,
  • Medical-Surgical caravan – a mobile unit for patient to receive medical consultations and surgical services.
  • Improving availability of drugs and medicines – by supporting No Balance billing; strengthening the current mechanisms for drug procurement and mechanisms for the availability of drugs and medicines.
  • Mapping facilities and services through the Philippines Health Atlas and maintained by the DOH. This is a result of around 10 years of work by the National Health Facility Registry (NHFR) which is the official master list of health facilities, services and specialist practitioners for the Philippines, e.g.

– HIV screening/testing/counselling and treatment hubs

– Blood services

– High risk maternal units

– NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Units)

– Neonatologists

– Perinatologists

 

A common thread during the Q&A was about budget, particularly when funding for the HI-5 program ends in June 2016 – what will happen with the program then? The short answer – “we’ll have to wait and see”. The Presidential elections, which occur every 6 years, are due in May next year, so it will depend on what the next Leaderships’ priorities are.

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In closing, the importance of CHEAP in partnership between DOH and Health Partners was emphasised, which stands for:

  • Convergence
  • Harmonisation
  • Effective engagement, and
  • Alignment of Assistance to the
  • Philippines

It was a fascinating insight into the Philippines health care and political system – highlighting the many challenges faced in providing and improving healthcare for all. It was also a great opportunity to make connections with other health partners – a great source of information and ideas to tap into, for this assignment and beyond.

Next stop…Healthy meals & Boodle fight! Speak soon, Alli 🙂