Press Release
July 31, 2010


Sen. Edgardo J. Angara today urged the Aquino administration to add significant research and development initiatives for the country's health care sector by exploring more technologies and innovations.

"Filipinos' access to health care system, although guaranteed by the 1987 Constitution, is still hampered by financial, physical, social and cultural barriers; we need to address these issues with remedies that correspond to modern needs," said Angara.

Angara made the call to Pres. Noynoy Aquino after the president laid his plans for reform for the country that would focus on the agriculture, education and health care sectors.

"To help achieve the country's vision of universal primary health care services, it is not enough to be contented with the present capacity of the country's health care system. It is important to build the country's capability for research and development because these can fuel the necessary innovation that will lead to a responsive and efficient health care system," said Angara.

He added the country must provide for a research environment where government agencies, non-government organizations, public and private hospitals, academic institutions and private agencies can optimize research activities.

But according to United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) in its State of the World's Children 2009 report, the Philippines is among 68 countries, which contributed to 97 percent of maternal, neonatal and child health deaths worldwide. The report concluded that a child born in a developing country is more likely to be in a disadvantaged position in terms of survival. A child born in developing countries like the Philippines is almost 14 times more likely to die during the first month of life.

Statistics show that almost half of the deaths of Filipino children under five years old is within the first 28 days of life. Worse, maternal health in the country is also far from other developed country's statistics. A staggering one in every 140 pregnant women dies in childbirth in the Philippines.

According to UNICEF, complications in childbirth are brought by hemorrhage, sepsis, hypertension and abortive outcomes, which are actually preventable.

Angara has proposed the Philippine National Health Research System to address current problems in the health sector by institutionalizing the Philippine National Health Research System (PNHRS) and create the Philippine National Health Research Fund (PNHRF).

As principal author of the PhilHealth Act, he also emphasized the need to shore up our capacities and invest on research initiatives. This, he said, would accelerate our efforts to prevent maternal and new-born deaths.

"Our country's ability to ensure optimum health for every Filipino hinges on the degree of priority we grant to health research and development (R&D) activities. What we aim is to oblige a number of government institutions to allocate a particular portion of their gross annual revenue or charge additional fees for health research and development activities," added Angara.

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