The Department of Health (DOH) on March 30, 2022 convened patient groups and civil society organizations (CSOs) to discuss updates on the national government’s COVID-19 response, vaccination program rollout, and the ongoing initiatives to provide Filipinos better access to pharmaceutical commodities and healthcare services during the virtual 15th Policy Dialogue on Universal Health Care (UHC) and Access to Medicines with  theme “Gamot Para sa Lahat, Siguruhing Sasapat”.

The DOH regularly conducts the Patient Forum to recognize the invaluable contribution of the patients and the general public as partners to achieving the country’s goal of having equitable access to medicines and health care services. These fora are utilized to create enabling partnership and cooperation in building more effective and proactive strategies to achieve UHC, while also displaying values of transparency, accountability and good governance.

The virtual dialogue also serves as an avenue to engage the patients in meaningful discourse and exchange of insights on some of the most important and timely issues in health.

“Universal Health Care (UHC) includes more affordable, more accessible, and better quality healthcare for every Filipino. We must ensure that every needed medicine and other health services are given to our people, especially now in the time of the COVID- 19 pandemic. All efforts are made possible by a whole-of-government and a whole-of-society approach,” said Health Regulation Team Undersecretary and IATF Secretariat Head Atty. Charade Mercado-Grande

As the technical authority for health, the DOH holds the overall responsibility to ensure that Filipinos have equitable access to quality population- and individual-based health services and up-to-date information. The Patient Forum also aims to inform the public of relevant health issues and assure them of the Department’s commitment to transparency and public engagement.

“The fulfillment of the promises of UHC is vital to unlocking the New Normal. We must ensure that the health needs of Filipino families are met and proper care is provided for. Through UHC, generations of healthy Juans and Juanas will fully enjoy life and be productive citizens by becoming the healthiest people in Southeast Asia by 2022, and in Asia by 2040,” said Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III.