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Tech-Powered Universal Health Coverage in the Philippines

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In a major move towards realising Universal Health Care (UHC) in Pampanga, local leaders and health experts are pioneering a tech-focused integration of the province-wide health system. This innovative approach aims not only to expedite the implementation of UHC but also to revolutionise healthcare accessibility and delivery through the strategic utilisation of technology.

The pivotal moment came as 21 mayors ceremoniously signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with health professionals, officially inaugurating the “Pampanga United for Streamlining Health towards UHC” initiative. At the heart of this initiative lies a commitment to harnessing technology as a catalyst for healthcare transformation.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire lauded the provincial government’s proactive stance in leveraging technology to bring healthcare services closer to every household. She emphasised the indispensable role of technology-enabled primary healthcare in paving the way for UHC, underscoring its potential to bridge gaps and enhance healthcare access.

Renely Tungol, the UHC Provincial Focal Person, elucidated the significance of the MOA, highlighting its role in galvanising local leaders towards a shared vision of technological integration for improved health outcomes. She stressed the power of data-driven decision-making and digital innovation in optimising healthcare delivery across Pampanga’s diverse municipalities and cities.

Pampanga’s remarkable progress in health system maturity, boasting an impressive 83% attainment level, positions it as a frontrunner among the seven Central Luzon provinces. This milestone underscores the province’s readiness to embrace technological advancements and drive meaningful change in the healthcare landscape.

Corazon Flores, Regional Director of the Department of Health Central Luzon Center for Health Development, underscored the transformative potential of technology in delivering patient-centric healthcare services. She underscored the importance of fostering a culture of innovation and collaboration to maximise the impact of technological interventions on health outcomes.

Vice Governor Lilia Pineda echoed the sentiment, highlighting the pivotal role of technology in ensuring equitable access to quality healthcare for all residents, as mandated by Republic Act No. 11223, the UHC Act of 2019. She underscored the need for sustained support and investment in technological infrastructure to realise the full potential of UHC in Pampanga.

Pineda also pledged to prioritise preventive healthcare initiatives by leveraging technology for early disease detection and intervention. This includes the provision of cutting-edge diagnostic equipment for the timely detection of conditions such as pneumonia and tumours, bolstering the province’s capacity for proactive healthcare delivery.

In addition to legislative support, the provincial government has earmarked a substantial budget of P100 million for its provincial health expenditure in 2024. This investment underscores a commitment to leveraging technology as a cornerstone of Pampanga’s healthcare strategy, with a focus on enhancing digital infrastructure and expanding access to telemedicine services.

The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation’s announcement of an increased case rates coverage to 30% further augments Pampanga’s tech-driven healthcare ecosystem. This expansion, coupled with the automatic enrollment of citizens into the National Health Insurance Program under the UHC law, promises to significantly enhance healthcare affordability and accessibility for all residents.

The collaborative efforts of local leaders and health professionals underscore a shared commitment to harnessing technology as a force multiplier in the journey towards Universal Health Care in Pampanga. Through strategic investments in digital innovation and data-driven decision-making, the province is poised to emerge as a beacon of technological excellence in healthcare delivery, setting a precedent for others to follow.


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