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The Department of Health (DOH) spotlights the government’s Malasakit program, which offers financial assistance services to support indigent and financially incapacitated Filipino patients, together with its partner agencies, offices,  patient support groups, and civil society organizations (CSOs) during the face to face 16th Policy Dialogue on Universal Healthcare and Access to Medicines held on June 9, 2022 at Cocoon Boutique Hotel, Quezon City.

As the first face-to-face meeting after three years and five virtual policy dialogues since 2019, the event featured the comprehensive financial assistance program, the efforts of the DOH in developing a more coordinated patient navigation and referral system, as well as modernizing health infrastructures and facilities towards the goal of improving the overall health system of the Philippines.

“Let this event be a symbol of hope and a celebration of new beginnings as we are coming closer to the endemic phase of COVID-19 where we could better live and cope with the virus,” Director Anna Melissa Guerrero from the Health Technology and Assessment and Pharmaceutical Division said as she welcomed the participants and expressed her appreciation for their proactive participation in the dialogue even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Director Girlie Veloso, from the Malasakit Program Office, and representatives from the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), National Patient Navigation and Referral Center (NPNRC), and Health Facilities Enhancement Program Management Office  served as resource speakers..

Patient groups and CSOs actively participated in raising relevant and important questions and concerns to the panel of presenters on the topics discussed and how they can better access the health services provided by the national government.

“May all our learnings and experiences brought about by this policy dialogue give us aspirations to stand up and contribute to the ultimate goal of attaining a healthy Pilipinas na ang gamot at serbisyong pangkalusugan ay abot-kaya at abot-kamay ng lahat. Sama-sama tayong umaksyon, para sa kalusugan ng ating nasyon,” Undersecretary Atty. Charade Mercado-Grande concluded.

More than a hundred participants from different patient support groups and CSOs representing different diseases and conditions were present in the policy dialogue while the forum was also livestreamed via DOH’s official   Facebook page.

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