North Luzon Transformation: Design Thinking, Team Coaching with ZFF’s BayangMalusog

News | by Almi Atienza

As part of the continuing effort to help local health centers achieve Universal Health Care (UHC) in the northern region, the Department of Health Centers for Health Development (DOH-CHD) of Cordillera, Ilocos, and Cagayan Valley, in partnership with the Zuellig Family Foundation (ZFF), recently mounted the 3rd module implementation of the Bayang Malusog Regional Leadership Development Program (RLDP) in Baguio City last September 6-7, 2023. In attendance were 27 participants, including assistant regional directors, provincial health team leaders, and UHC coordinators from the three DOH-CHDs.

In the two-day training activity, no less than the former DOH Undersecretary Dr. Myrna Cabotaje emphasized that while the training activity is critical and can provide fundamental and technical knowledge, the participants’ integration with real experience and learnings on-site will surely go a long way.

“Your role involves facilitating access to health care services. Remember the human aspect, taking into account the people’s conditions and adapting your approach accordingly,” shared Dr. Cabotaje, as she encouraged everyone to positively contribute to UHC so that its impact is truly felt. “Sharing is learning,” Dr. Cabotaje added.

One of the participants, Jennifer Valenzuela, City health team leader of Baguio City, could not agree more. “Health care has to be felt more by Filipinos and our community through better access to quality health care services,” Valenzuela said.

Promising accomplishments in northern Luzon have also been highlighted including the progress of licensing and accreditation of primary care facilities and the growing commitment of local leaders to champion the integrated approach to UHC. Most of the provinces in the region have achieved 100% on the preparatory level of UHC maturity—a set of standards set by the DOH.

However, challenges remain to ensure access and quality of primary care services, a competent health workforce, and a functional electronic medical records system. Central to these challenges is the operationalization of the Special Health Funds.

These health system challenges are being addressed through proactive and responsive leadership and more intentional team coaching. Among the initiatives being worked on are the enhancement of the user interface of iClinicSys, the electronic medical records system used in primary care facilities, and the development of a technical assistance package aimed at expediting compliance with licensing and accreditation standards for needed facilities. These plans are part of a broader strategy that seeks to strengthen their approach to increasing immunization coverage in the regions.

The BayangMalusog Regional Leadership Development Program continues to empower leaders in their pursuit of UHC, creating a healthier Filipino population. #


(Published September 26, 2023)

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