Press Release
August 9, 2013

Gov't to hire 131 docs to the barrios, 22,500 nurses; repair 2,871 clinics, spend P10.2 B for drugs, insure 14.7 M families

Describing it as a "prescription for drugs, doctors, and clinics", Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto today likened the P81.7 billion proposed budget of the Department of Health for 2014 as a "needed shot in the arm for the public health system."

"It is definitely a booster shot. It is P30 billion bigger than the DoH's adjusted budget of P51.9 billion this year," Recto said.

Recto said the budget will allow the Health department to hire131 "doctors to the barrios," regularize the employment of 22,500 nurses who were taken in as contractual workers, and field 3,000 midwives.

The initial year's salary of this "army of health workers," according to Recto, is P3 billion.

Also included in the DoH's 2014 budget is P13.3 billion for the rehabilitation and construction of 2,871 health facilities and purchase of new equipment.

To be built or spruced up are 962 barangay health stations, 1,265 rural health units, 561 hospitals run by local governments, and 60 hospitals operated by the DoH, including nine leading specialty hospitals which will be given P2.3 billion for new buildings and medical equipment.

He said the purchase of P4.3 billion worth of apparatus will allow health facilities nationwide to improve their diagnostic and treatment capabilities.

Also to be procured next year are P10.2 billion worth of medicines and vaccines, Recto said. Included in the buying list are vaccines costing P2.8 billion for 2.7 million children targeted by an "expanded program on immunization."

These are, however, on top of local government purchases as most of public hospitals have been "devolved" to LGUs, Recto said.

However, the biggest chunk in the Health budget remains the P35.3 billion cost of enrolling 14.7 million "poor and near-poor families" in the National Health Insurance Program.

With this amount, 100 percent of indigent families identified in official poverty counts will be brought under health insurance, Recto said.

Recto said the P81.7 billion DoH outlay for 2014 likewise includes P2.8 billion for "Family Health and Responsible Parenting."

"Included in this expense item is Rotavirus vaccination for 2.4 million infants," Recto said.

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