CALABARZON Provinces Tackle UHC Implementation Challenges and Achievements


The Bayang Malusog Provincial Leadership and Development Program (PLDP) Module 2, held in Tagaytay from June 18-20, 2024, brought together leaders from Laguna, Batangas, Quezon, and Lucena City to discuss the challenges and successes of implementing the Universal Health Care (UHC) program.

Laguna’s Strategic Navigation of Challenges

Dr. Rene Bagamasbad of Laguna Provincial Health Office (PHO) highlighted the province’s strong organizational structure and Local Health Systems (LHS) maturity despite financial constraints. Key challenges include reorienting newly elected Local Chief Executives, engaging private facilities, establishing Special Health Fund policies, and securing funding. Innovative strategies for Konsulta registration, such as medical caravans and PhilHealth coordination, are being implemented to overcome these hurdles.

Batangas’ Pursuit of Maternal Health Goals

Ms. Analiza Abrenica, UHC Focal Person for Batangas, reported on their efforts to reduce maternal mortality rates by improving pregnancy tracking and increasing public awareness. Successful partnerships with private facilities have been established, although integrating Local Government Units (LGUs) and sustaining the Health Care Provider Network (HCPN) remain challenges. Quezon stakeholders are interested in adopting Batangas’ HCPN model showing that collaboration is crucial for overcoming obstacles and building a sustainable healthcare system in the province.

Quezon’s Emphasis on Health Financing and System Strengthening

Dr. Kris Mangunay of Quezon PHO emphasized their focus on health financing and the Konsulta process, collaborating with various health offices. Challenges include PhilHealth’s responsiveness and the need for a stronger Health Information System (HIS). Quezon also faces challenges in convincing all component LGUs to integrate into the Provincial Working Health System and distinguishing between HCPN and Primary Care Provider Network (PCPN). They plan to develop a Provincial HIS and enhance health information campaigns to improve efficiency.

Lucena City’s Struggles and Collaborative Endeavors

Lucena City faces challenges such as hospital capacity and implementing an Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system. Ms. Lady Ticzon, UHC Coordinator for Lucena City, highlighted struggles with patient registration as a component city of Quezon province. Efforts to improve include partnering with hospitals, expanding the City Health Board, and seeking technical assistance from Quezon Province.

Key Takeaways and Moving Forward

The sessions underscored significant progress but also highlighted ongoing challenges. Key needs identified include: robust HIS; better engagement with PhilHealth; strengthened LGU integration; and optimized referral systems. Continued collaboration and resource sharing among the provinces are essential for enhancing healthcare accessibility and quality, fulfilling the UHC promise in CALABARZON.

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