Bong Go advocates for more accessible healthcare services to help address lower life expectancy of Filipinos

Bong Go advocates for more accessible healthcare services to help address lower life expectancy of Filipinos

SENATOR Christopher “Bong” Go has raised concerns over the declining life expectancy in the Philippines, as revealed by the latest data from the World Bank.

The World Bank’s latest data shows that the Philippines has about 115 million inhabitants as of 2022, making it the second most populous country in Southeast Asia and the 13th in the world. However, the data also shows that the life expectancy of Filipinos has dropped from 71 to 69 years, with females living up to 71 years and males up to 67 years.

Go, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Health, said that this decline in life expectancy is alarming and calls for urgent action from the government and the public to prioritize the health and well-being of Filipinos.

“Kailangan nating kumilos para maprotektahan ang kalusugan at kabuhayan ng ating mga kababayan. Maraming sakit na nagbabanta sa ating buhay. Kaya dapat mas palakasin pa natin ang ating healthcare system at mas mapalapit sa tao ang serbisyong medikal na kailangan nila,” Go said.

As part of his efforts to enhance the accessibility and quality of healthcare in the country, Go has been pushing to establish more Super Health Centers and Regional Specialty Centers.

Super Health Centers are designed to focus on primary care, consultation, and early detection, further strengthening the country’s healthcare sector, especially in grassroots communities. Free consultations would be handled by municipal health offices, local government units, and the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation through its Konsulta program.

Through the collective efforts of fellow lawmakers, local government units, and the Department of Health (DOH), led by Secretary Teodoro Herbosa, sufficient funds have been allocated for 307 Super Health Centers in 2022, 322 in 2023, and 132 in 2024.

Go said these centers benefit localities that still lack sufficient healthcare facilities and must travel far to seek medical attention.

“Sa mga itinayo nang Super Health Centers, nakita namin kung gaano kalaki ang naitutulong nito sa komunidad lalo na sa rural areas. ‘Yun po ang layunin ng mga Super Health Centers, ang ilapit sa mamamayan ang serbisyong medikal ng gobyerno,” he said.

Regional Specialty Centers, on the other hand, are specialized units that will be established in the Department of Health (DOH) regional hospitals to provide advanced and comprehensive care for specific diseases or conditions, such as heart, lung, neonatal, cancer, and kidney.

Go principally sponsored and is one of the authors of the Republic Act No. 11959, also known as the Regional Specialty Centers Act. He said these specialty centers will bridge the gap between the people and the specialized healthcare services mostly concentrated in Metro Manila and other urban areas.

“Ang Regional Specialty Center, ilalagay natin ito sa mga DOH regional hospitals para mailapit sa tao ang mga specialized healthcare services na kailangan nila. Hindi na sila kailangang pumunta pa sa Metro Manila para magpagamot. Mas makakatipid at mas makakasiguro sila na makakakuha ng dekalidad na pagpapagaling,” Go said.

The senator said these initiatives are part of his commitment to providing better healthcare for Filipinos, especially the poor and marginalized.

“The lower life expectancy of Filipinos is a wake-up call for us to take action and improve our health situation. We also must ensure that every Filipino has access to accessible and effective healthcare services, which these Super Health Centers and Regional Specialty Centers aim to provide,” said Go.

To help poor and indigent patients with their medical expenses, Go continues to monitor the implementation of Republic Act No. 11463, or the Malasakit Centers Act of 2019 that he principally authored and sponsored which institutionalized the Malasakit Centers program.

The Malasakit Center, a collaborative effort among various government agencies, has been pivotal in easing the burden of medical expenses for countless Filipinos. The centers bring together representatives from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Health (DOH), Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), aiming to support underprivileged patients in covering their hospital costs and reducing it to the least possible amount.

Currently, 159 Malasakit Centers are operational nationwide, poised to assist with patients’ medical expenses. The DOH reports that the Malasakit Center program has already provided aid to around ten million Filipinos.

“Pangalagaan natin ang ating kalusugan. Tandaan natin na ang kalusugan ay katumbas ng buhay ng bawat Pilipino,” concluded Go.


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