Address DOH budget cut, ‘multiple health emergencies’ or PH will face health crisis, senator warns

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FILE PHOTO. Five health groups earlier claimed that the Philippines is experiencing a health crisis, citing lower health budget, decreasing number of nurses, and the return of outbreaks of infectious diseases.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 7) — The government should restore the cut in the health budget for next year and address “multiple health emergencies," Senator Hontiveros said Thursday, warning that failing to do so will lead to a health crisis.

“I hope we’re not moving towards a public health crisis in the next few years, pero sa dami nitong, sabi ko nga, multiple health emergencies, tapos katapat pa nun cut sa budget, bantang pagbawas sa health human resources ng DOH, kapag hindi natin sinagot nang maayos at ni-resolve itong multiple health emergencies, then we will be facing health crisis in the next few years,” Hontiveros told CNN Philippines’ The Source.

[Translation: I hope we’re not moving towards a public health crisis in the next few years, but with these multiple health emergencies, coupled by a cut in health budget and the looming cut in the health human resources of the DOH, if we fail to properly respond to these problems, we will be facing a health crisis in the next few years.]

Senator Ralph Recto earlier warned that over 10,000 health workers may lose their jobs if the government does not reinstate the P9.39 billion cut in the DOH budget for 2020. The reduction includes P6.05 billion decrease in the allocation for the Human Resources for Health Deployment Program.

Hontiveros expressed confidence that Congress will be able to reinstate the decrease in DOH's allocation.

“Across the majority, minority line, may namumuong bipartisan consensus. Kailangan i-reinstate ‘yung budget item na ‘yun as we had done in previous years,” she said.

[Translation: There is a developing bipartisan consensus across the majority and minority line. We need to reinstate this budget item as we have done in the previous years.]

Five health groups earlier claimed that the Philippines is experiencing a health crisis, citing lower health budget, decreasing number of nurses, and the return of outbreaks of infectious diseases.

The DOH has refuted the claim, saying the country only has a problem in “underinvestment” in health-related initiatives.

READ: No health crisis in PH, just 'underinvestment' problem – Duque

The senator said the government should use the Universal Health Care Law as an instrument to “head off” the possibility of having a health crisis.

She pointed out the need to regain the public’s confidence in and coverage under the DOH’s vaccination program.

Hontiveros also said the government should continue lowering the prices of medicines in the country.

Sinubmit na ng DOH 'yung expanded maximum retail drug price cost nila of 120 drugs sa Office of the President Tuesday morning, and he (Duterte) is mandated under the law to sign this list," she said.

[Translation: The DOH has submitted its expanded maximum retail drug price list of 120 drugs to the Office of the President last Tuesday morning. The President is mandated to sign this list.]

"Magandang pamasko sana 'yan sa ating mga kababayang hirap sa presyo ng gamot," she added.

[Translation: It will be a good Christmas gift for our countrymen who struggle in availing medicines.]