DOH Usec blames patronage politics on poor health system

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DOH Undersecretary Teodoro J. Herbosa (right), stressing a point by allaying fears that under PPP program, government hospitals would be privatized and eventually will displace health workers. On the contrary, he told media practitioners that the government has the control and more jobs will open instead. Beside him, Bicol Regional Director Gloria J. Balboa. PHOTO BY ELMER JAMES BANDOL/BICOLTODAY.COM
DOH Undersecretary Teodoro J. Herbosa (right), stressing a point by allaying fears that under PPP program, government hospitals would be privatized and eventually will displace health workers. On the contrary, he told media practitioners that the government has the control and more jobs will open instead. Beside him, Bicol Regional Director Gloria J. Balboa. PHOTO BY ELMER JAMES BANDOL/BICOLTODAY.COM

By Elmer James Bandol

LEGAZPI CITY (BicolToday.com/18-Mar-2013) – Department of Health (DOH) Undersecretary , Teodoro J. Herbosa, on Wednesday brushed aside reactions against Public-Private Partnership (PPP) program of the government by amplifying on the assurance that health programs will not be “privatized” as he blamed poor health system to patronage politics.

“Not privatization, hospitals are owned by the government while the private sector may provide machines like linear accelerator, mammogram, etc. Health care in the old system is when patients seek medical assistance, money is
used to maintain politicos in power” Herbosa explained in Pilipino during press conference held at Oriental Hotel here.

“Kung magbibigay ng pera ang politico, huwag na mag dole out. Legislators pork barrel could be channelled to DOH”, he added.

According to Herbosa, DOH’s PPP program is a “social infrastructure” whereby private sector’s participation could be equated to the putting up of expressway, toll ways, and airport or energy development under the scheme of Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) under RA 771.

He further explained that the government had been adopting the same in all aspects of health programs by mentioning the participation of: Rotary International to polio free; leprosy eradication by Novartis Foundation now on its elimination phase being implemented in some parts of the country while Global Fund and Pilipinas Foundation to lessen malaria cases.

Herbosa also allayed fears that many will lose jobs in the process of the program by mentioning the Philippine Orthopedic Centre which has 700 beds and needs 3,000 nurses while population ratio to bed capacity ranges from 5 to 8 beds for 10,000 or 18 to 20 beds for 10,000 if population is doubled. “Walang tatanggalin sa trabaho, we are now targeting to modernize 36 hospitals , 10 under PPP , two of which were approved”, he averred.

Under the program, all hospitals will operate under board of trustees composed of three representatives from the government, two from the private participants and one independent representative to work as corporate body but without salary, he emphasized.

He said the National Economic Development Authority will determine the Internal Rate of Return as to the investment of the participants by determining parameters depending on the long term contract on how to run the health system which could range from 18 per cent to 25 per cent rate base.

Herbosa arrived here as keynote speaker and point person on the PPP program of DOH for cluster of National Capital Region and Southern Luzon including Bicol Region , has assured conference participants that quality health care shall not be compromised.

He also took cognizance of the seemingly abandoned building sprawling at the compound of Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital (BRTTH) which is supposed to be the Bicol Medical Center which had been funded during the time of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo amounting to P500 million but constructions was halted.

Another anomaly reaching the visiting health official, is how District Hospitals in Albay and Sorsogon are being run by the local government and that despite millions of government funds infused quality health care services are still farfetched. [BicolToday.com]

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