DoH aims for 6,000 health facilities

PHILSTAR FILE PHOTO

THE DEPARTMENT of Health (DoH) aims to build at least 6,000 functioning primary healthcare facilities nationwide by 2028 to boost the delivery of healthcare services, a health official told senators on Tuesday.

At a Senate hearing, DoH Director of Health Facility Development Melissa T. Sena said that as of end-2023, the country has 2,624 primary health care facilities and 131 specialty centers, adding: “By 2028, the target for primary healthcare facilities is a little over 6,000 to address the needs of the population.”

Last year, the DoH greenlit the establishment of 333 of these facilities — 31 of which were then under construction.

Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” T. Go led the hearing aimed at crafting bills that would mandate the building of more health facilities and upgrade local hospitals.

Earlier, Senate President Juan Miguel “Migz” F. Zubiri called for a probe on the lack of medical facilities and healthcare experts in top tourist destinations in the Philippines.

“It is crucial to know the priorities of the DoH and the DBM (Department of Budget and Management) in funding the construction, repair and rehabilitation of various health facilities,” Mr. Go said at the hearing.

The United States Agency for International Development has said the Philippines must invest more in development and modernizing local healthcare facilities to encourage nurses and other healthcare professionals to stay in the country instead of seeking work abroad.

“The process of making it attractive (for health workers) to stay here is about building strong centers where people can feel rewarded, serve their communities and feel that they have the supplies,” USAID Assistant Administrator for Global Health Atul Gawande said during his visit to Manila in January. — John Victor D. Ordoñez