DOH hopes next admin will stick to 'science', 'whole-of-government approach' in implementing health policies


The Department of Health (DOH) expressed hope that its next secretary as well as the Marcos administration will stick to "science" in implementing the different policies regarding public health.

Among the challenges that the DOH is facing is the spread of “misinformation and disinformation,” especially during the Covid-19 pandemic, said Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.

“Gusto natin na ipagpatuloy ang ginagawa nating paggamit ng siyensya at ebidensya sa lahat po ng naging desisyon at sa lahat ng naging polisiya ng current administration (We want to continue using science-based evidence in all the decisions to be made and in all the policies of the current administration),” said Vergeire during a recent press briefing.

“So that we can be able to have that position and credibility kapag tayo ay nagbibigay ng mga guidance sa ating publiko at sa ating mga implementing units (when we provide guidance to our public and our implementing units),” she added.

In line with this, Vergeire also urged the next DOH secretary and the Marcos administration to properly study the possible outcomes if the state of calamity due to Covid-19 will be lifted.

The current state of calamity is set to expire in September, said Vergeire.

“Ang atin pong validity para dito sa state of calamity, which is equivalent doon sa pinalabas ng WHO na Public Health Emergency, would be only until September of this year. So, isa iyan sa dapat pag-aralan maigi (The validity of the state of calamity, which is equivalent to that issued by the WHO which is the Public Health Emergency, would be only until September of this year. So, that should be studied carefully),” she said.

Early June, Vergeire said that lifting the state of calamity has "operational implications" such as in the use of Covid-19 vaccines.

Vergeire is also hopeful that the next administration will continue taking a “whole-of-government approach” in responding to the health challenges.

Vergeire said that the current administration has been "successful" in adopting this approach. However, it is also one of their challenges—on how they "can be able to consolidate all the efforts" of local governments, national government agencies, private sector, civil society, and other sectors to respond to the pandemic, she said.

“Alam natin (We all know) how fragmented our health system is because of devolution. So alam po natin may mga (We know there is an) authority given to our local governments to care for their constituents. Isa po ito sa malaking challenge ng ating (This is one of the huge challenges of our) current administration on how we were able to consolidate and harmonize all of the efforts of our local governments para mag align sa ating (to align with our) national government,” she said.

“So I think, ito ay makita din dapat ng ating bagong administrasyon para mas maipagpatuloy po natin ang magandang nagiging response natin dito sa pandemyang ito (the new administration should also see this so that we can continue our good response against this pandemic),” she added.