All hands on deck. Heads of various national government agencies together with Health Technology Assessment (HTA) key players gathered last 31 October 2019 to show support in the collective vision to progressively realize Universal Health Care (UHC) in the Philippines.

Aligned with the FOURmula One Plus for Health framework, performance accountability is a fundamental step toward UHC. Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III reiterated the role of HTA in order to achieve this.

“… HTA ensures good governance and accountability toward achieving UHC. It is through this meeting that we as stakeholders can be fully oriented with HTA,” said Sec. Duque in his special message.

Secretary Fortunato dela Pena of Department of Science and Technology and BGen. Ricardo Morales, PhilHealth President also expressed their support for HTA as an integral part of UHC.

“The country has a long way to go in institutionalizing HTA and we at DOH recognize that we cannot do this alone. We need to work together to make this happen,” Undersecretary Domingo stressed on his welcoming remarks.

Also in attendance was Honorable Angelina Tan, Chair of the Committee on Health of the House of Representatives and one of the sponsors of the UHC Act, who echoed the same views.

“We are all in this work together, no spectators. Everyone is a player and member of the cheering squad at the same time,” she said.

Experts from UK, Thailand and the World Health Organization also shared their international experiences on the value of HTA as a part of the health system. Vital partners from other agencies, academe, professional medical organization, civil society organization and the industry were likewise given the opportunity to provide insights on their involvement in the HTA process and how can they take advantage of the new mechanism. 

In our desire for UHC, we could be optimistic that this alliance will open wider doors to improve health of the Filipinos.