Emphasizing the importance of sustainable and effective health promotion across the country beyond the current pandemic, the Department of Health (DOH) celebrated the best healthcare practices among local government units (LGUs) through the Healthy Pilipinas Awards for Healthy Communities.
The Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Association of the Philippines (PHAP), the Philippine Medical Association (PMA), Philippine Foundation for Vaccination (PFV), and the Livable Cities Challenge commended the DOH for launching the Healthy Pilipinas, Healthy Communities Awards to promote best practices in healthcare programs aligned with the DOH Health Promotion Strategy Framework.
“Almost 80% of our health outcomes are due to socio-economic, environmental, and behavioral factors,” DOH Health Promotions Bureau Director Dr. Beverly Lorraine Ho shared. “This is why under the Universal Health Care Act, our goal is to support and redesign our lifestyles to be more health-promoting.”
Among the awardees, representatives from four LGU awardees were invited to the forum. They are Baguio City Mental Health Coordinator Ricky Ducas and Health Education and Promotion Officer Ms. Adora Catolos, Dr. Philip Balogo and Dr. Corazon Dotillos from Borbon Cebu, Tacloban Leyte City Health Office Officer-in-Chief Dr. Gloria Fabrigas, and Imelda Zamboanga Sibugay Municipal Health Officer Dr. Myrna Cabral-Salomes.
During the Healthy Pilipinas Awards for Healthy Communities, Baguio City was awarded for their mental health program and their COVID-19 prevention and response while Borbon, Cebu was commended for their Borbon Mental Health Warriors, Healthy Nanay and Bulilit, and Borbon Disaster Risk Reduction and Management and Health Emergency Services programs. Tacloban, Leyte’s Immunization program and Substance Abuse program “New Beginnings” were also given recognition while Imelda, Zamboanga Sibugay’s Age-appropriate Immunization program was given an accolade.
Present in the forum was PFV Executive Director Dr. Lulu Bravo, who emphasized the need to scale up the country’s primary healthcare system, and move towards promotive and preventive health in communities. “Primary care plays a vital role in the country’s health. Recognizing immunization and nutrition as priority areas is crucial to prevent diseases among children, and give them a good start at life,” said Dr. Bravo.
PMA President Dr. Benito Atienza discussed the importance of bringing health back to the communities. “The people are in the communities so we must bring our services to them just like what we are doing with COVID-19 vaccination. Promoting these priority areas in communities will empower the people to take charge of their health and make informed decisions beneficial to them,” said Dr. Atienza.
PHAP Executive Director Mr. Teodoro Padilla, meanwhile, said that the country’s next leaders must sustain investments in health to contribute to the aspiration of leaving no one behind when it comes to quality healthcare. “We believe that giving due recognition to our local governments will not only accord them the accolade they deserve but also send a strong message that health should be prioritized as threats are not yet over. Investing in health yields better outcomes that benefit individual health, the environment, and the economy,” Mr. Padilla said.
Liveable Cities Challenge Chairman and Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation Chief Resilience Officer Mr. Guillermo Luz said that health in the cities must be given attention if the country seeks to achieve sustained economic growth and innovation. “Today’s cities face several challenges such as those relating to environmental health, disaster prevention, mental health and lack of physical mobility among others. For these reasons, we need to plan for them better through partnerships as part of the whole-of-society approach,” said Mr. Luz.
“We are very proud of the LGUs that have spearheaded their own efforts to address health priority needs of their respective communities. We hope that, in collaboration with the private sector, we are able to continue these initiatives towards Universal Health Care and our upcoming catch-up immunization program for other vaccine-preventable diseases,” Dr. Ho concluded.