Press Release
May 26, 2008


Senator Edgardo J. Angara today said that the high maternal deaths in the country is a critical indicator and a sensitive gauge of the lack of inefficiency and organization of Philippine health care system.

"If we can't deliver the most basic of health care such as child delivery, what more for sophisticated procedures? If a country cannot adequately respond to obstetric emergencies, it is likely that it will not be able to respond to any other medical emergencies. It will not also be able to provide curative or preventive measures needed for the treatment of childhood illnesses, immunizations, malaria and TB," he said.

Angara said that it is therefore critical that policymakers and medical practitioners alike re-visit important issues that affect the health system. This includes human resource development, health financing, service delivery, and research and development (R&D).

To strengthen the country's health system, Angara recommended a review and assessment of the implementation of DOH's human resource plan; easing the boundaries of professional practice to respond to needs of people in the rural areas thereby allow non-medical practitioners to carry out lifesaving procedures; ensure that health expenditures are linked to outcomes, and that health budgeting is results-oriented; not just an increase in the health budget but more importantly more efficient and prioritized spending; and an evaluation health service delivery at the local levels.

He stressed that "the provision of health service is the litmus test that shows how responsive, efficient and effective the health system is."

He lamented the wide gaps in health service in the Philippines, reflected in the country's top health problems such as high infant and maternal mortality rate, malnutrition, malaria and TB, the emergence of a diabetes crisis and the lack of immunization.

"Our health sector must be able to respond to these problems. We will only be able to achieve our health goals if we have a vital and robustly functioning health system in place. This will enable us to save lives, prevent and cure illnesses, and enhance our well-being," said Angara.

"The measure of civility is how we able to take care of our people's health. That is the foremost humanitarian act," he said.

Angara is the author of important health laws such PhilHealth, the Breastfeeding Law, and the National Institutes of Health.

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