COMMUNITY EMPOWERMENT FOR HEALTH THROUGHPHILIPPINE INTEGRATIVE MEDICINE WITHIN THE CONTEXT OFALTERNATIVE HEALTH CARE SYSTEMS DEVELOPMENT (Training and Advocacy Component)
A. National Health SituationIn 2008, one of the major developments in the Philippine health care system is the approval or enactment of the Republic Act 9502 or otherwise known as Universally Accessible Cheaper and Quality Medicines Act of 2008. This mandated the Department of Health, Bureau of Food and Drugs and the Intellectual Property Office to issue the implementing rules and regulations for RA 9502. The new law will give way to parallel importation of cheaper medicines from other countries and at the same time will also induce local pharmaceutical companies to complement the rising competition in the market. It will also allow the Department of Health to issue compulsory licenses to other manufacturers to produce generic drugs for domestic use in cases of extreme public health need. The DOH is also mandated to conduct a price regulation on the maximum retail prices of the medicines. RA 9502 will also generate the acceleration of government efforts to put up more government pharmacies selling cheap medicines to the poor. At present, there are 1,746 Botika ng Bayan outlets and 11,572 Botika ng Barangay outlets nationwide which are selling 24 classes of essential types of medicine for hypertension, asthma, diabetes and for common infections. With the new law in place, majority of the poor people shall have access to quality and affordable medicines in their respective localities.Also during this year, the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) has increased its benefits to its members to cope with the rising medical and health expenses during this phase of global economic slowdown. A billion pesos will be added to the 2009 budget of the sponsored (indigent) program of the National Health Insurance Program to fully fund the premium of the sponsored (indigent) members. The agency will also provide PhilHealth benefits to displaced workers including them in the “sponsored group” of members. This is PhilHealth’s contribution to the government’s economic stimulus package.There was also a plan to amend and update the provisions of Republic Act 7883 Magna Carta for Health Workers which will benefit the barangay health workers in the issues of security of tenure, adequate training, health benefits and other entitlements. This will eventually professionalize and recognize the contribution of barangay health workers in the delivery of health services especially in the rural areas. Barangay health workers have been vanguards in the government’s effort to combat the most common diseases such as tuberculosis, polio, malaria, etc.
Click on the links below to view full report (pdf format).