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On June 3, 2019, the Department of Health and the Delegation of the European Union to the Philippines will mark the closure of two EU-funded budget support programmes. The results of the final evaluations will be presented to take stock of lessons learned and integrate them in the crafting and the implementation of the Universal Health Care law.
Health Secretary Dr. Francisco Duque, EU Ambassador to the Philippines Dr. Franz Jessen, World Health Organization Representative Dr. Gundo Weiler will grace the occasion.
The two EU-funded programmes have contributed to positive gains in achieving Universal Health Care.
Noteworthy are the increase of the population covered by the Philippine National Health Insurance Programme, strengthening management and financing of service delivery networks, establishment of out-patient drug recovery clinics and improving sexual and reproductive health care services. The programmes have also contributed to the preparation of the Universal Health Care law and relevant Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR). The second programme provided in addition demand-driven and tailor-made technical assistance in support to the Department of Health in health policy development and its operationalisation at local level.
EU Ambassador Dr. Franz Jessen congratulated the Philippine Government for the approval of the Universal Health Care Bill. "This law is a crucial step towards the improved access to quality health care of all the Filipinos, particularly the poor, the vulnerable and the disadvantaged".
Health Undersecretary Dr Mario Villaverde, who leads the crafting of the Implementing Rules and Regulations for the Universal Health Care (UHC) law, has pointed out that “some of the ideas generated in the EU support were instrumental in drafting the UHC law.
The “assistance provided by EU in the Philippine Health Sector Reform Contract has been very efficient and responsive to our needs” says Pharmaceutical Division Chief Anna Melissa Guerrero. She added that the assistance resulted in the creation of the Office of Supply Chain and Logistics.
From 2006 to 2018, EU financial support to healthcare programs in the country amounted to PHP 7.2 billion. A large part of the funding was directly channelled through the Philippine treasury. These funds were managed by the Government. This demonstrates the commitment of the European Union to the Philippines for achieving Universal Health Care as outlined in the Philippine Health Agenda.
The European Union will continue to provide support to the implementation of the "UHC" Law through funding of the WHO UHC Partnership. The UHC Partnership aims to make quality healthcare more accessible to Filipinos, particularly for those who are marginalized.
The European Union and its Member States also continue to support the Global Fund to fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and have contributed close to 50% of all resources received by the Global Fund budget up to now.
In addition, the European Union will support strengthening health and other basic services in Mindanao as part of its support to Peace and Development in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao.
The European Union also supports civil society effort in health care.