Baguio City, PHAP kick off phase 2 of medicine access initiative for residents
Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong and members of the Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Association of the Philippines (PHAP), representing the research-based medicines and vaccines group in the country, kicked off the second phase of their partnership aimed at enhancing medicine and vaccine access for residents.
Coinciding with the global celebration of Universal Health Coverage Day in December last year, Mayor Magalong signed a memorandum of understanding with PHAP to help accelerate the implementation of access to medicines under a Universal Health Care (UHC) framework.
Under the partnership, Baguio City will be the pilot site for the first UHC Blueprint on Access to Medicines Project, a collaboration designed to accelerate the implementation of access to medicines in local government units.
“Health is a priority agenda for Baguio City. It is one of our primordial concerns. This MOU signing with PHAP will take us one step closer to realizing better health for all people living in the city. As the pilot city for this novel partnership, we are very committed to it. Every time we see innovation, we want to be pioneering it,” Mr. Magalong said.
In his message during the launch of the baseline study results, Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Teodoro J. Herbosa recognized the role of public-private partnerships as well as the leadership of local government units in achieving a Healthy Pilipinas.
“In the realm of healthcare, the Government recognizes the invaluable role of public-private partnerships in ensuring equitable access to essential medicines. Access to medicines is of paramount importance especially during a crisis. This is not only a matter of health but also a complex and multi-faceted issue. It requires collaboration among governments, international organizations, healthcare providers, pharmaceutical companies, and civil society to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to lead healthy and productive lives,” Secretary Herbosa said.
“Hence, the current Administration’s goal highlighted the need to strengthen the public-private partnerships across all key industry players for sustainable access to medicines and reduce out-of-pocket spending for Filipinos. I would also like to recognize the pivotal role of our local government units in revolutionizing our health systems with a humane and responsive approach. Their leadership is a catalyst for positive change,” he added.
The MOU has set off a baseline study on the health needs of Baguio City residents as well as commenced discussions on the details of the project which has two components.
The baseline study, conducted in April to May this year, serves as one of the City’s evidence-based resources to determine the general health status, level of medicine access, and health aspirations of residents. About 1,000 households from 111 barangays were part of the said baseline study.
The results of the baseline study was presented to the national and local healthcare leaders, and the citizens of Baguio. It was followed by a workshop among members of the City health office and health board to discuss the results of the baseline study, as well as identify healthcare access priorities for the City.
Also under the MOU, the first component of the partnership is the consolidation of PHAP Members’ health and medicine access programs. A number of biopharmaceutical companies belonging to PHAP has begun exploratory discussions with Baguio City to demonstrate their commitment to the health of the residents.
“Since we started the partnership, we have seen that Baguio City continues to be a leading innovation hub in the country. The goal of this pilot program is to demonstrate that quality healthcare can be achieved by rolling out access to innovative medicines through public-private partnerships. We recognize the leadership of Mayor Magalong in enabling innovation, good governance and collaboration as a strategy to improve health outcomes for Baguio City residents,” PHAP Executive Director Mr. Teodoro Padilla said.
Meanwhile, the second component under the MOU is composed of the actual ecosystem building for a stronger healthcare system in the city, with support from the greater healthcare community.
“As we have seen at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, we need to strengthen our healthcare system and ensure that life-saving medicines and vaccines are available to the people. This is an example of an innovative public-private partnership. We are working together with the private sector to find ways to make healthcare more accessible to everyone living in the City. As we do this, we are continuing our advocacy for good governance beyond politics,” Mr. Magalong said.