Friday, 23 January 2009

Philippines to upgrade hospital facilities using P33-B budget

The Manila Bulletin

The Department of Health (DoH)) is set to order an upgrade of government hospital facilities and equipment as soon as the office receives its newly approved P33B budget for 2009, up by P4 billion from last year’s budget.

Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque said the additional P4 billion will be used for the health facilities enhancement program and for capital outlay in infrastructure and equipment upgrade, costing "close to P2 billion." The remaining P2 billion, he said, will be allocated for the procurement of essential drugs to meet the demands of the recently-launched P100 medicines program.

The P100 medicines program consists of treatment packs that can be bought for P100 pesos through a doctor’s prescription. Included in the program are medicines for infections, hypercholesterolemia, arthritis, asthma, diabetes, Vitamin C and others.

Duque said this year, the DoH has in its priority list strategies to bring down pregnancy-related deaths from 162 per 100,000 live births to 54 by 2015. He earlier emphasized his target of bringing down the figure to 90 by 2010.

"We would like to shift 60 percent of deliveries from home-based deliveries because this is where the problem lies because of lack of sanitation, hygiene, lack of professional expertise to deliver a baby, to attend to unexpected complications, respond to bleeding, sepsis, infection, hypertension," Duque told reporters in a recent forum organized by the Philippine College of Physicians.

Duque named two important new programs to achieve this, the institution of Basic Emergency Maternal Obstetrical and Newborn Care and Comprehensive Maternal Obstetrical and Newborn Care.

"This is in line with the Millennium Development Goal number 4 which is to reduce child mortality. Our goal for reducing child mortality would be about 32 (in 2006) to 27 child deaths per 1,000 live births," the health chief said.

"Even the World Health Organization (WHO) and other international health organizations have given us a good score in the area of reducing child mortality. Of course its no excuse for us to be complacent. We have to step up efforts to more aggressively address issues and problems," he added.

Other areas of focus by DoH are the reduction of the incidence of HIV, tuberculosis, malaria, and other infectious diseases; improving access to potable water and sanitation and the continued provision of affordable drugs.

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