TABUK CITY, Kalinga – Local leaders, healthcare officials and providers gathered for the first Universal Healthcare (UHC) Summit in Kalinga at the M Hotel Tabuk on July 19, 2023 as the Department of Health (DOH) goes into high gear in the implementation of the landmark measure that promises to enhance healthcare services for all Filipinos.
DOH Undersecretary Lilibeth C. David gave the keynote speech in which she assured Governor James Edduba and other local chief executives present of the DOH’s support and assistance throughout the implementation of the program.
Big reforms are coming to the local health system under the new health regime. Chief among them is the integration of the city and municipal health systems into a province-wide health system that is focused on prevention and is centered on primary healthcare.
The law also requires local government units to pool their health funds into the Special Health Fund (SHF) for a more efficient and strategic management of health resources and to ensure the allocation of funds exclusively for health care initiatives.
PhilHealth Senior Vice President for Fund Management Renato Limsiaco Jr. emphasized the big role the Kalinga provincial government will play under the integrated health system as it assumes the authority in setting province-wide policies and strategies.
The province will also lead the Provincial Health Board (PHB) which will oversee the management of the SHF.
The city and municipal mayors are now included as members of the PHB and have signed a memorandum of agreement on the UHC integration during the summit.
As outlined in its UHC Roadmap, the provincial government aims to upgrade the Kalinga Provincial Hospital into a level two hospital by 2024, and all the district hospitals into level I hospitals by 2028.
“Our goal is to have a very functional health system,” Provincial Health Officer Dr. Edward Tandingan said.
Aside from local healthcare officials and providers, officials of referral and apex hospitals in the region including the Cagayan Valley Medical Center, Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center, and Conner District Hospital also attended the summit.