On Health: Here’s what Duterte wants for the poor

PRESIDENTIAL candidate and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte is pushing for the deployment of more doctors in the Philippine countryside, and better pay for them.

Appalled by recurring reports of inadequate public health services especially for rural Filipinos, Duterte said it is incumbent upon any administration to do what it can to ensure the health and wellbeing of the majority of Filipinos.

Public health indicators showed a “serious imbalance” in terms of access to health services,” Duterte noted in a statement.

He observed that poor regions like parts of Bicol, Eastern Visayas, Caraga and the Autonomous Region have low access to health services, including access to potable water, sanitation facilities and toilets.

He also noted that although access to basic health care has been improved by the automatic membership to Philhealth of government’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) beneficiaries numbering about 4.5 million families, the increasing demand for health services is not being met by adequate health facilities and the appropriate number of medical workers.

“We need to build more health centers and hire medical practitioners to man them,” he said, adding that such professionals must be offered more attractive compensation packages.

Duterte added that if government can improve agricultural productivity and diversify the production of agricultural products, “we can ensure better nutrition to the poor by supplying them with cheap but quality food.”

This will “vastly improve” their health situation, he said. | Peter Laviña
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