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Pampanga officials bat for UHC success

INTER-LGU INTEGRATION FOR UHC. Governor Dennis “Delta” Pineda signs the province-wide health system MOA together with the Pampanga mayors on Monday, February 12 at the Royce Hotel. (Pampanga PIO)

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO — Gov. Dennis “Delta” Pineda led 21 mayors and health professionals in signing a memorandum of agreement (MOA) integrating local governments in the province-wide health system to ensure the success of the Universal Health Care (UHC) in Pampanga.

Vice Gov. Lilia “Nanay” Pineda, who has been championing local health governance since she served as governor in 2010, emphasized the importance of local executives in guaranteeing the equitable access of poor Kapampangans to quality and affordable health care legislated through the UHC Act of 2019 (Republic Act No. 11223).

“Mayors, kailangang-kailangan kayo dito sa batas ng Universal Health Care. Kung hindi ninyo tutulungan o susuportahan ang batas na ito, balewala ito. Ang ganda-ganda ng batas na ito. Wala na kayong babayaran. PhilHealth na lahat ang mga tao, yung mga mahihirap,” Vice Governor Pineda said in Monday’s program launching the PUSH.

PUSH stands for Pampanga United for Streamlining Health towards UHC. This is assured in Ordinance No. 862, which was passed by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan last January. The 2024 provincial health budget initially amounts to P100 million, Governor Pineda said. 

“In signing the MOA, the local chief executives committed to take a common direction to make the UHC works for the people in Pampanga. This allows us also to gather data, strategically plan the health of all Kapampangans in all municipalities and cities here in the province to achieve better health outcomes,” explained Dr. Renely Tungol, UHC provincial focal person.

The UHC law automatically enrolled the citizens into the National Health Insurance Program and expanded PhilHealth coverage to include free medical consultations and laboratory tests. 

PhilHealth increased its case rates coverage to 30 percent effective Feb. 14, the agency’s area vice president Walter Bacareza announced during the PUSH program.

DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergiere said primary health care is the key to UHC. She also lauded the efforts of the provincial government headed by Governor Pineda and Vice Governor Nanay for the “utmost effort in bringing health services in every household.”

Capitol’s Alagang Nanay Preventive Health Care Program provides free medical consultations and laborary tests for heart diseases, cancers, hypertension and diabetes. Capitol operates one provincial hospital and 10 district hospitals with a network of 49 rural health units as primary care facilities. 

As one of UHC integration sites, Tungol said Pampanga has attained 83 percent local health system maturity level, making it number one among seven Central Luzon provinces in terms of functionality as of January.