THE recent meeting of the Private Sector Advisory Council Healthcare Sector with President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. is based on three strategic, priority pillars identified from prior meetings with the President and key government agencies: strengthening the PhilHealth system, providing greater drug accessibility, and building capacity and capabilities.

The Philippines can effectively solve healthcare challenges through technology and innovation, shared PSAC Lead Convenor and Aboitiz Group President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Sabin Aboitiz along with additional insights and learnings from the recent Aboitiz technology and innovation trip to Israel.

In strengthening the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) system, the ultimate goal is for Filipinos to be able to take advantage of a fully-implemented universal healthcare (UHC) system by 2028.

PSAC informed the President that they have facilitated introductory meetings with top, global consulting firms for potential third-party assessments of the PhilHealth Leadership Team. PhilHealth is set to discuss and align internally for a final Request for Proposal on this.

President Marcos was happy to hear about the progress of the PSAC Healthcare Sector during their meeting on Wednesday, March 29, 2023, in Malacañang.

In a modern and responsive healthcare system, nurses and essential healthcare workers are still its lifeblood. That is why the PSAC Healthcare Sector is committed to building capacity and capability. This is a two-pronged strategy: keep developing high-quality nurses to serve the global market, as well as offer pathways for nurses to stay in the Philippines.

The Department of Health (DOH) is studying long-term solutions to the national nursing shortage, including pushing for key legislation. The Magna Carta for Public Health Workers is currently pending in the Senate, with a proposed standardization of nursing wages, while an additional Nursing Act is in the House of Representatives. DOH and PSAC are proposing to work with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on government support for healthcare subsidies and scholarships.

On drug accessibility, the PSAC Healthcare Sector consulted with key stakeholders and identified opportunities to strengthen the local pharmaceutical manufacturing industry. PSAC recommended the forming of a Technical Working Group (TWG) to explore how to maximize the local drug manufacturing capabilities and develop local production for essential drugs.

In attendance at the meeting were key government officials, including Department of Health (DOH) Officer-in-Charge (OIC) Dr. Maria Rosario Vergeire, PhilHealth Acting President and CEO Emmanuel Ledesma, PhilHealth Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer (COO) Atty. Eli Dino Santos, FDA Director General Dr. Samuel Zacate, CHED Chairperson J. Prospero de Vera III, Undersecretary Leonardo Roy Cervantes from Office of the Executive Secretary, and Presidential Advisor on Investment and Economic Affairs Fred Go. (PR)