Vice presidential candidate Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr. today said he wants to replicate in the entire country the successful health care program he began in Ilocos Norte during his stint as governor of the province.
Speaking before the officials and employees of the Chinese General Hospital, led by its president and chairman of the board Dr. James Dy, Marcos said the health program he has started in Ilocos Norte should be duplicated for the rest of the country because it has enabled those in the far-flung areas to have access to doctors and other health programs.
“My solution was to bring health care to the people,” said Marcos. First, Marcos said they conducted medical missions four times a month in isolated barangays. He added that they created a database of medical records of residents, making diagnosis and treatment easier in their subsequent visits.
Likewise, Marcos said he adopted a policy to provide health insurance to 75 percent of the residents of the province who did not have any health insurance coverage with the cost shouldered by the provincial government.
He said they not only achieved the 75 percent target coverage but the program even became self-sustaining later.
Eventually, Marcos said the medical missions were institutionalized into Rural Health Units with permanently assigned nurse and midwife and a doctor available for at least 2 days of the week to cater to basic health problems of residents.
“Now our residents especially those in far-flung barangays, who had found it difficult to go to hospitals not only because they lack money for transportation, but also because of other concerns such as having to leave their family and their work, have regular and easy access to health care professionals and workers and our health programs,” he pointed out.
Because of his pioneering efforts, the Department of Health (DOH) has lauded the all-out efforts of the provincial government of Ilocos Norte to implement the Universal Health Care program to attain its Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) targets by 2016. It noted that Ilocos Norte is doing well in achieving the universal health care particularly addressing the five programs in maternal care, infant care, under five, HIV/AIDS and the establishment of a Service Delivery Network.
Marcos earlier called for more RHUs in the country, saying majority of health problems people experience were common ailments that health personnel of the RHUs and barangay health centers can adequately address.
The senator stressed the importance of basic health care saying nobody can be productive unless he has good health.
“Poor health is the great equalizer—it does not recognize status. It does not discriminate if you’re rich or poor. That is why the first thing I did when I became governor of Ilocos Norte was to strengthen our health care system,” said Marcos.
“And that is the same thing I want to do for our country,” he added.