Resource Person (talking points)
Sec. Carlos Jericho L. Petilla
Lanao del Norte Safe Motherhood Day
Mindanao Civic Center Tubod, Lanao del Norte
April 15, 2015
Thank you very much for inviting me on these sessions. This affair is something, which for me is more than an advocacy than a task since we are talking of something, which is truly important. As a family man with five children, maternal health is essential in building a strong Filipino family. Although we are still facing the reality of building newer health facilities, it must not be a hindrance for us not to have access to health care most especially when it comes to childbirth and pregnancy. The three delays of child birth (decision to go to a hospital, access to a hospital and the availability of facilities in the hospital) must no more be an issue because of the existence of new services such as ambulances, rural doctors and most especially hospitals that are now being accredited by Philhealth.
When I became Governor Leyte, it is quite natural to survey first the whole province and evaluate what could be done more. So slowly we were able to immerse ourselves and ensure to make better what ever there is to improve. We looked on the health system of the province. We want to tackle old problems, challenges that have existed for a long time but can’t be addressed solidly. Some of which are the improvisation of health facilities and practitioners. The reality is that health is so important that it should be prioritized similarly to education. As an investment for the future, our citizens must be cared for and nourished especially those who can’t afford to go to hospitals. This is actually the role of the LGUs, a responsibility that is heavy but can be lightened if we will employ the right techniques to address the challenge.
A necessity we need to address is to guarantee that our people will enjoy the benefits of Philhealth. In order for this to be realized fully, we created a scheme to induce development of existing health facilities. We cannot just grant all the benefits under Philhealth since accredited facilities are needed. What we did is to grant the Philhealth Accreditation first to facilities to have good access for capitalization for development and upgrading.
Another is to keep a pool of medical practitioners, which is a necessity if we are aspiring for a progressive health system. The Leyte experience on this is to tap the unused resources from Philhealth to make the practitioners’ salaries competitive. When we did this model, there were no more shortages in doctors and the people across the province have in one way or the other has now an easier access to medical services.
These reforms can be done easily because all LGUs have the access. We must admit that it takes political will, however we must be guided by the right inspiration and the rest will follow. I understood this when I became governor. It was truly difficult because you are trying to solve a challenge that is truly deeply rooted. However if we will remain persistent and self-assured, things will turn out fine.
To all mothers and even fathers, I urge and challenge you to be our partner in decreasing maternal deaths. Let us help our mechanisms work. Let us not be wayward on this because health is synonymous to life. Not taking care of it entails danger and we do not want that. We have this chance and I hope that we will together grab this as an opportunity and a wise choice.
The secret on this model is that you are motivated to a purpose that will truly improve the quality of life for the people we serve. These were created to serve the citizens, our bosses. May we enjoy and use this opportunity as our inspiration and challenge.
Thank you very much and good afternoon.