National Task Force against Covid-19 Chief Implementer and vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. sees the need to enhance the “unity of command and effort” of healthcare service providers in the country.
During the Senate’s joint hearing of the Committee on Health and Demography and Committee on Finance on May 6, Galvez pointed out the major challenges faced by the healthcare sector in their Covid-19 response and mitigation efforts.
Among these issues, he pointed out, are the devolved set-up of the healthcare sector, which he noticed during the visits he made to many local government units (LGUs) throughout the country.
“We have seen the vulnerability of the Filipino people and we have witnessed the dysfunctional gaps in our healthcare system during this pandemic,” Galvez said.
According to the chief implementer, the Department of Health (DOH) “can only command until the regional level,” pointing out that “LGUs have full autonomy and responsibility for managing and implementing their own health programs and services.”
He added that though the DOH provides technical support to all healthcare facilities, provincial governments are managing and operating primary and secondary hospital services.
Meanwhile, Galvez noted that primary healthcare services, including those provided by rural health units and barangay health stations, are under the supervision of municipal governments.
Highly urbanized and independent cities, on the other hand, provide both hospital and primary care services, he explained.
Galvez also proposed a number of key reforms in the Universal Healthcare Law such as the improvement in healthcare facilities; the implementation of measures that will address the low number of healthcare workers in the country; the need for greater strategic engagement with the private sector; as well as the expansion of the DOH’s functions to improve the delivery of health services. SOVEREIGNPH