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NEDA seeks accelerated rollout for UHC to head off future crises

THE GOVERNMENT must accelerate the universal healthcare (UHC) system rollout to guard against future crises like the coronavirus pandemic, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said.

“Efforts should be sustained in addressing lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, such as the critical role of developed primary healthcare, adequate health facilities, and strengthened health system resilience in large-scale health emergencies,” it said in the Philippine Development Report.

It called for “adequate and equitable human resources for health to carry out services at the different levels of healthcare.”

“The government must strengthen inter-agency collaboration to address the social determinants of health. These include sustained efforts in education, nutrition, and water, sanitation, and hygiene,” it said.

It said the Health and Education departments must partner up to address youth pregnancy and the increasing incidence of HIV/AIDs in those age groups.

“The Department of Health (DoH) must also continue engaging with local government units (LGUs) to create healthy settings in communities, schools, and workplaces,” it said.

“Recognizing that non-medical factors play a significant role in affecting health outcomes, healthy communities may activate local committees in the LGUs to track their performance in improving social determinants of health, such as access to safe water, basic sanitation, and nutrition,” it added.

The report also recommended enhancing the supply and deployment of human resources for health. It cited the example of working with the Commission on Higher Education to promote scholarships for doctors, nurses, pharmacists, technologists, midwives, and other healthcare professionals.

NEDA also said stressed the need for an “integrated package of healthcare delivery system across life stages.”

“Accessibility of gender- and culture-sensitive healthcare services across the life stages and different levels of care, providing integrated packages of health, nutrition, immunization, family planning, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, and adolescent health services, will continuously be pursued,” it said. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson