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EU Extends Support for Philippine Healthcare Program

Posted on Dec 20, 2010 by Sergio Ulloa ()

The Philippines Department of Health (DoH) and the EU have reached an agreement over the Philippine Health Sector Policy Support Program (HSPSP), with the EU having contributed a further € 36 million (US$ 47.8 million:PhP 2.12 billion) towards the second phase of the program on 17th December 2010. The focus of the second phase of the Health Sector Policy Support Program (HSPSP) is to try and ensure universal access to healthcare for all members of the population, especially disadvantaged members of society. The second phase of the HSPSP will be overseen by the DoH working closely with other entities such as the provincial and municipal governments in the Philippines, which have the responsibility for delivering primary healthcare services in the country. The funding will enable further work to be undertaken and extend the benefits achieved under phase one of the scheme, while recognizing that considerable improvements to the access for fundamental healthcare is still required for the poorer members of society in this highly populated country. The HSPSP is coupled with the Aquino Administration's Health Sector Reform Agenda, with a combined focus on developing local healthcare systems and the reform of the hospital and health regulatory systems in the country. The strategy includes meeting Millennium Development Goals in respect to maternal and child health. Implementation of phase one of the HSPSP will be completed by the Philippine DoH by December 2010. The second phase of EU funding will be used over two years to implement operational measures included in the Philippine healthcare reform proposals aimed at improving delivery of the Philippine state-run health services. The €36 million (US$47.8 million:PhP 2.12 billion) grant from EU funds follows their previous grant of €36 million (US$47.8 million:PhP2.12 billion) in 2006 and is part of the EU's continuous support for the HSPSP in a bid to improve access to healthcare for the poor and disadvantaged population of the country. A fundamental purpose of the HSPSP is to address the inequalities which exist in the Philippine public healthcare system, with phase two building on the lessons learned in phase one. The Philippine DoH initially adopted the Health Sector Reform Agenda (HSRA) in 1999 as part of a major government policy action to address inequalities in the country's healthcare system. In 2005, the HSRA adopted a program called FOURmula One for Health (F1) 2005-2010, which formed part of the HSRA's framework to speed-up progress with the public healthcare reforms in order to eradicate the large scale divides between income levels and the urban and rural populations of the country. Since 2005, the approach to healthcare reform in the Philippines has gained momentum, with international bodies such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and UN backing the Philippines health project. Although the Philippine healthcare sector has improved over the last decade, it still lags behind many of its Asian peers, especially in maternal mortality rates, which remain a health issue in the country. Part of HSPSP reform agenda will be to address the challenges the Philippine healthcare sector has experienced in respect of financing and delivery of health services in the country. The proposals now allow for the devolution of responsibilities to local levels of government in an effort to achieve the prime objective of the program which is to improve inequalities and cut out inefficiencies which have existed in the Philippines healthcare system. These actions will strive to ensure all Filipino's have fair and adequate healthcare coverage for curative and preventive services and achieve the overall goal of the Health Sector Development Project (HSDP) which is to improve the health status of the population. The Philippines are taking a progressive approach to the healthcare reform process in the country by adopting a pro-active policy, with clear targets to eliminate shortcomings in the healthcare sector with valuable help from EU funding.
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