The Department of Health (DOH) today manifested its commitment to poverty reduction in the country during a crucial dialogue with other national government agencies (NGAs). The Post State of the Nation Address (SONA)- Poverty Reduction discussion cluster revolved around the need to strengthen whole-of-government approaches to poverty reduction.

During the dialogue, the participating agencies- the  Department of Education (DepEd), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Migrant Workers (DMW), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA)- recognized the fundamental importance of the DOH’s 8-point agenda in poverty reduction. It was collectively acknowledged that health remains a paramount concern, and efforts to improve the nation’s health must take precedence in all aspects of poverty alleviation.

A key highlight of the discussions was the emphasis on mental health. The cluster of departments deliberated on ways to enhance mental health awareness within their spheres of influence. The participating agencies all put forward recommendations to bolster mental health support and initiatives, underscoring their commitment to prioritize the well-being of the Filipino people.

This significant discussion aimed to explore innovative strategies to address poverty reduction in the country as per the directives set forth by President Marcos in his recently concluded State of the Nation Address last 24 July 2023.
Moreover, the issue of nursing online review classes was addressed, with a shared vision among DMW, CHED, DepEd, and TESDA to encourage medical professionals to stay and work within the country, rather than seeking opportunities abroad. This alignment underscores the significance of retaining skilled medical workers and fostering domestic talent, which is vital for the nation’s healthcare system.

Unity and solidarity among all departments emerged as a recurring theme throughout the dialogue. Participants mutually recognized that cohesive collaboration and support for each other’s initiatives are paramount to delivering efficient government services effectively. The pursuit of common goals and objectives was embraced, emphasizing the need for a coordinated and united front in addressing societal challenges, including poverty reduction.

Additionally, the dialogue delved into health programs and their enhancement, facilitated through cooperation with different departments. Health Secretary Teodoro J. Herbosa highlighted the nation’s collective learning from previous pandemics, which had been challenging for all citizens. The acquired knowledge has empowered the nation to respond more effectively to current and future health crises, thanks to the cooperation and collective efforts of all stakeholders.

Economic matters were also a key topic, with discussions centered on asset management within the Department of Health to ensure the responsible and efficient utilization of taxpayers’ money. The DOH’s 8-point agenda, which encompasses various aspects of healthcare and well-being, was presented and received unanimous agreement from the other departments, recognizing the interconnectedness of their respective priorities with those of the DOH.

In conclusion, the post-SONA dialogue marks a significant step towards addressing poverty reduction in the Philippines. The commitment to prioritize health, mental health, and unity among various sectors illustrates the government’s dedication to creating a brighter future for the Filipino people.

“As the DOH continues to lead in fostering health and well-being, the department remains steadfast in working hand-in-hand with other key agencies to achieve the nation’s shared vision of a prosperous and healthy Philippines”, said DOH Health Secretary Teodoro J. Herbosa.