Public and private sector stakeholders from Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines converged at the Universal Health Care Forum 2015 to share their insights and learn lessons from each country’s ongoing journey towards universal health coverage.
Now on its fourth year, the UHC Forum is a series of annual multi-stakeholder policy forums conceptualized and organized by the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health (ASMPH) and Novartis. It aims to gather the inputs of key stakeholders and galvanize their joint commitment in order to (1) enhance access to health benefits, (2) ensure financial protection, and (3) safeguard quality of care.
Held on November 6, 2015 at the Makati Diamond Residences in Makati City, UHC Forum 2015 focused on the theme, “Are citizens benefitting from UHC?”. It was co-organized by Universitas Indonesia School of Public Health; the Social Security Organizing Body (BPJS), the lead UHC implementor of Indonesia; and the Vietnam Ministry of Health. The forum had four sessions tackling the following questions: (1) “Are citizens getting covered?”; (2) “Is the health system providing better packages for citizens?”; (3) “Are citizens availing of the packages?” and (4) “How can citizens benefit more?”
“UHC Forum 2015 builds on the learnings from the three previous forums and broadens stakeholder engagement in the region. We learned new lessons from our Indonesian and Vietnamese colleagues while sharing our insights with them, as we all strive to achieve our common goal of universal health coverage,” said former Health Secretary and current ASMPH Dean Dr. Manuel M. Dayrit.
“Public-private partnerships and Kalusugan Pangkalahatan [universal health care], two flagship programs of the Philippine government, are the driving forces behind the UHC Forum series. Only through the collaboration of government and private sector stakeholders can we ensure that all Filipinos are able to receive affordable and quality health services,” said Secretary Janette L. Garin, Secretary of the Philippine Department of Health.[pq]The UHC Forum 2015 is one of the platforms for sustaining the dialogue on universal health care in the region and following through on the actions that need to be done.[/pq]
We hope that priority can be put on ensuring access to the key interventions targeting the health Millennium Development Goals, i.e. births attended by a trained health worker, family planning, vaccinations, and prevention and treatment of diseases such as HIV, malaria and tuberculosis. At the same time, we should also work together to address the growing problem of noncommunicable diseases,” said Dr. Benjamin Lane, Officer-in-Charge of the World Health Organization (WHO) Philippine Representative Office.
“We thank our colleagues from Indonesia and Vietnam for sharing their insights and expertise in this important forum. While we have made some headway in reducing inequities in healthcare access, there are still many gaps and challenges that need to be addressed. All concerned stakeholders must continue to work together in order to make universal health care a reality,” said PhilHealth President and CEO Alexander A. Padilla.[pq]One of the key objectives of the UHC Forum series is to ensure financial risk protection to prevent people from being pushed into poverty when they have to pay for health services out of their own pockets.[/pq]
Novartis shares our partner-stakeholders’ belief that universal health coverage is a critical component of sustainable development and poverty reduction, and a key element of any effort to reduce social inequities,” said Mr. Jason Smith, Head, Asia Cluster, Novartis AG.
“Universal health coverage cannot be achieved overnight, but we can work together to move more quickly towards this goal and sustain the gains that we have already made. Novartis is committed to collaborating with key stakeholders in the Philippines and the region in enhancing access to health services, strengthening health systems and finding innovative and sustainable ways of health financing,” said Dr. Nikolaos Tripodis, President & Managing Director, Novartis Healthcare Philippines.
Speakers during Opening Plenary were Atty. Sedfrey Candelaria, Dean of the Ateneo de Manila Law School (on behalf of Dr. Manuel Dayrit, Dean, Ateneo de Manila School of Medicine and Public Health); Dr. Benjamin Lane, Team Lead, Health Services and Systems, Representative Office to the Philippines of the World Health Organization; and Department of Health Undersecretary Lilibeth David (on behalf of Health Secretary Janette L. Garin).
Among the session 1 speakers (and their respective presentation topics) were PhilHealth President and CEO Alexander A. Padilla (“The Philippine Health Insurance Scorecard”); Dr. Prastuti Soewondo, Trustee, BPJS Kesehatan Advisory Board (“What Can We Learn from Indonesia UHC: Behavioral Changes of Providers and Patients”); and Dr. Hoang Thi Phuong, Vice Head of Health Economics Department / Health Strategy & Policy Institute, Ministry of Health, Vietnam (“Vietnam Health Insurance Benefits Package: Moving Forward”).
Speakers for session 2 were Dr. Hasbullah Thabrany, Centre for Health Economics and Policy Studies, Faculty of Public Health, University of Indonesia (“How Far are the Indonesians Benefiting from UHC?”); and Dr. Tong Thi Song Huong, Director, Health Insurance Department Ministry of Health, Vietnam (“Vietnam Health Insurance Benefits Scheme”).
Also part of the “Panel Session on Implementation of Local Government Units and Healthcare Providers” were Dr. Leopoldo Vega, Chief, Southern Philippines Medical Center; Dr. Gerardo Manzo, Assistant Director for Medical Services, Philippine Heart Center; Dr. Julius Drilon, Chief, Corazon L. Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital Medical Center Bacolod and Dr. Romina Danguilan, Chair, Department of Adult Nephrology, National Kidney and Transplant Institute.
Session 3 speakers were Dr. Caroline Mae Ramirez, Deputy Principal Investigator, Ateneo Center for Health Evidence, Action and Leadership (“Access to Primary Care: Access to Prenatal, Delivery and Postpartum Services in Eastern Visayas”); Dr. Nikolaos Tripodis, Managing Director, Novartis Healthcare Philippines (“Lessons on Health Systems Strengthening through Patient-centered Access Initiatives”); and Rubin Magno, Charity Assistance Department Manager of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (on behalf of Atty. Jose Ferdinand Rojas II, General Manager of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office on the topic “PCSO: Providing Funding Assistance for Health to Filipino Patients”).
Dr. Andy Bushell, Global Program Head, Diabetes Portfolio Novartis AG (“Partnerships for Better Patient Access and Outcomes”); Dr. Eduardo Banzon, Senior Health Specialist, Regional and Sustainable Development Department, Asian Development Bank (“Learning Best Practices from Around the World”); and Dr. Maria Elena Herrera, Chair, Strategic Management Department, Asian Institute of Management (“Understanding UHC Gaps and Utilizing Supplementary / Complementary Coverage for Increasing Access – International Examples”) were the speakers for session 4.