New DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III

November 07, 2017

Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III today articulated the priorities and future plans for the Department of Health (DOH) during his first press briefing a week after his return to the agency.

“There are high expectations and greater challenges with a much bigger budget of P165B now than when we started with a Php 10 billion budget in 2005. The DOH equally has a huge responsibility and accountability to the Filipino people,” the DOH Secretary said.

Secretary Duque has begun meeting with the officials and staff of the health department who he emboldened to continue and accelerate the implementation of the Universal Health Care agenda.  

Reforms, he said, must be pursued with renewed enthusiasm and a transformational vision for the DOH to regain the top performing spot among government line agencies in terms of public satisfaction and responsiveness to patients and the public.

“While we confront today persistent health challenges such as high maternal and neonatal mortality rates, increasing burden of TB and HIV/AIDS as well as emerging problems like non-communicable diseases (NCDs), mental disorders and drug resistance, these can all be systematically and strategically addressed if everyone in the DOH is willing to adapt a governance system of framework,” Secretary Duque reiterated.

He announced the renewed commitment of the DOH to pursue a performance governance system (PGS) which was started in 2009 during his first term in which the DOH managed to achieve the first two of four stages of transformational governance, which are Initiation (2009) and Compliance (2010).   The initiative was a partnership between the DOH and with the Institute of Solidarity in Asia and the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP) to improve DOH systems and strategies to achieve its long-term vision of guaranteeing equitable, sustainable, and quality health care for all Filipinos.

Secretary Duque recounted how a gap was experienced in the implementation of the PGS initiative as the DOH stopped before reaching the Proficiency and Institutionalization phase. Secretary Duque will revive these efforts under his present leadership so that these last two phases shall be realized.

“We need to adopt a culture of evidence-based metrics that will enable the health department and the public to monitor how the health sector is working to achieve better timeliness, better responsiveness, better quality, and better outcomes for patients,” Secretary Duque said.

Secretary Duque also affirmed continuing the priority health programs begun by former Health Secretary Ubial under the Philippine Health Agenda, (PHA) adding that these elements will be merged with a strategic approach through the revitalization of his flagship program, the FOURmula One with a new tagline: Boosting Universal Health Care via FOURmula One Plus otherwise known as F1 Plus.

Health Secretary Duque will make the health reform agenda much more transparent, inclusive, coordinative, and synergistic with the efforts of both public and private sector partners, especially the local government units, thereby enabling the DOH to hit the ground running by 2018 and make health services more felt by Filipinos, especially the poor.   

The DOH, under Secretary Duque’s new leadership has also prioritized the review of the Universal Health Care Bill pending in Congress where Duque said reforms of both DOH and Philhealth must be grounded on reality of finite resources and funds to ensure that health spending brings the biggest impact and quality health care to majority of Filipinos and assure actuarial solvency for future generations.

Duque will also push public hospitals to improve their effectiveness, efficiency, responsiveness, and quality of health services to patients through enforcing the Anti-Red Tape Act (ARTA) and working with the Civil Service Commission (CSC) through the Contact Center ng Bayan (8888 Hotline) to address patient feedbacks and complaints on the services of public hospitals.