By Ellson Quismorio
Just how good or bad have the country’s hospitals and health facilities been faring?
The House Committee on Public Accounts chaired by Anakalusugan Party-List Rep. Mike Defensor will attempt to answer this question during Monday’s House inquiry to be conducted in aid of legislation.
House Resolution (HR) No. 686 penned and filed by Defensor, who is also vice chairman of the Committee on Health, prompted the investigation.
The Health panel chaired by Quezon fourth district Rep. Angelina Tan will also take part in the probe, which will look into the state, funding, and performance of hospitals and other local health facilities.
Invited to the hearing are officials of the Department of Health (DOH), government and private hospitals, and representatives of the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines.
In his resolution, Defensor cited a World Health Organization (WHO) study on the “inefficiencies and inequities” of the country’s health care delivery system.
“The fragmented nature of health financing, devolved structure of service delivery, and mixed public-private health system pose immense challengers to correcting the inefficiencies and monitoring the performance of the Philippine health sector,” he said, quoting the study.
According to the study, as of 2016, there were 90,308 nurses, 40,775 doctors, 43,044 midwives, and 265 medical technologists in the health care sector, with hospitals carrying more than 90 percent of doctors and nurses. Two-thirds of hospital beds were in Luzon, including Metro Manila.
Defensor said there was a need to undertake a comprehensive assessment of the state, capacity, and performance of health facilities to promote efficiency and effectiveness in the delivery of health services.
He said the two committees would also look into the government’s health facilities improvement program, for which Congress has been allocating billions in taxpayers’ money annually since the Aquino administration.
Defensor said he would like to know what the DOH has accomplished with the huge amount allocated for the program, including what hospitals have been upgraded and what new facilities have been built.
He noted that under the previous administration, funds were spread thin through the construction of barangay health centers costing P1.5 million to P2 million throughout the country.
However, Defensor said many of these centers are now idle because they have no personnel, equipment and even basic medicines and supplies.