Five local government units with exemplary public health programs were recognized as "Champions for Health Governance" on Wednesday.
The CHG award is given by healthcare company MSD in the Philippines, the Kaya Natin! Movement, and the Jesse M. Robredo Foundation.
This year's awardees are: Plaridel, Bulacan; Salcedo, Eastern Samar; San Felipe, Zambales; San Gabriel, La Union; and Tacurong City, Sultan Kudarat.
At the awarding ceremony, Vice President Leni Robredo emphasized that the issue of public health is a "silent crisis that deserves more attention."
"When our barangay captains, our mayors, and our governors want to get things done, even the impossible becomes possible. And in these extraordinary times, we need heroes like our enlightened local chief executives, who are committed in getting things done, who do not mind setting politics aside, and focus on helping those who need help the most," Robredo said.
"Providing nutrition and protecting our people’s health do not call for new technology or new inventions. They only require our commitment," she added.
A total of 27 entries were approved for the first level of screening by the CHG 2017 selection committee, which included the Department of Interior and Local Government Bureau of Local Government Services Assistant Division Chief Jose Denver Calo; Kaya Natin! Movement executive director Amelia Hernandez; Physicians for Peace Program head Dr. Josephine Bundoc; and Association of Municipal Health Officers of the Philippines national president Dr. Renato Menrige Jr. — BM, GMA News
Many of the local leaders I’ve met shared that public service was not their first choice as a career.
One of those people is Mayor Alfred Coro of Del Carmen, Siargao. He was content with his corporate IT job and didn’t see himself working for government, until he was called to public service in 2010.
When he was elected mayor, one of the observations that struck him the most was the poor health condition of Del Carmen. Mayor Coro saw that health was not a priority, with the lack of funds and equipment, as well as low staff morale. This was apparent in the high incidence of malnutrition among children and the spread of infectious diseases in the community.
This compelled him to create the Seal of Health Governance (SOHG), a monitoring and evaluation tool to improve the overall municipal health system. Covering all 20 barangays, this tool allowed Del Carmen to create a mechanism to measure health targets, such as incidence of maternal and infant deaths, malnutrition rates, and sanitation in households, among others.
To make this happen, Mayor Coro created a committee composed of health workers and officers, Sangguniang Bayan representatives, and civil society organizations, which set the performance indicators. Meanwhile, another group was created which was composed of agency representatives to evaluate the implementation of programs in each barangay.
To encourage participation, he set corresponding incentives for any barangay that meets the performance standards. For example, a cash prize of Php20,000 (gold seal) is given to a barangay with a score of 90 to 100. Barangays with scores below 90 receive the silver seal, equivalent to Php10,000, while those scoring below 75 received the bronze seal, equivalent to Php5,000.
Through the SOHG, Del Carmen has come a long way in terms of advancing the health of the community. For one, it has made sure that birth deliveries are done in health facilities to ensure the safety of mothers (less mothers resorting to ‘hilot’ or home deliveries). It led to the decrease in incidences of malnutrition and the spread of diseases. Lastly, the community made it possible that all households have access to sanitary toilets which, to them did not look attainable in 2012.
As a result, in 2015, Del Carmen was awarded the Champions for Health Governance (CHG) Award by Kaya Natin! Movement for Ethical Leadership for Good Governance and MSD in the Philippines. The local government received Php100,000 in cash to continue funding their health programs, as well as Php500,000 worth of medicines and supplies from the Department of Health.
According to Mayor Coro, these achievements are all because of the people of Del Carmen working together to make a healthy, vibrant, and engaged community.
“Apart from the statistics and the recognition, what I can be most proud of Del Carmen is that it boosted people’s morale about the community. It also cultivated a better sense of working with government—they became partners in initiating change and creating solutions to make their lives better. For me, that in itself makes going into politics a worthwhile experience,” he shared.
With the CHG Awards coming up, I’m excited to hear more stories like Mayor Coro’s. For some, working in development may not be their first choice, but it eventually becomes a fulfilling one for them.
The Kaya Natin Movement for Good Governance and Ethical Leadership, in partnership with Merck, Sharp & Dohme Philippines or MSD and the Jesse Robredo Foundation, is accepting applications from local government units with outstanding public health initiatives for the 2017 Champions for Health Governance Awards.
In line with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals on Health and the Department of Health framework to achieve universal health care for all Filipinos, the CHG Awards recognizes LGUs that have applied effective and innovative health programs.
The awards are also supported by the Department of the Interior and Local Government.
The chosen top five LGUs will receive trophies and cash prizes of P100,000 each, granted by MSD.
The awards will evaluate LGUs on criteria based on good governance (local leadership, and transparency and accountability) and public health governance (effectiveness and innovativeness of the health program, health resource management, and community engagement).
Interested LGUs are asked to submit a portfolio describing the rationale and impact of the health programs in their respective communities. A distinguished panel of judges will then evaluate and review the submissions, which include an on-site evaluation and a panel presentation and interview with local leaders.
The deadline for submission of entries has been extended to Feb. 17, 2017. The awarding ceremonies will be held in May 2017.
“We look forward to receiving the entries and hearing how LGUs made specific steps to increase people’s access to healthcare. MSD’s continued partnership with Kaya Natin toughens our resolve in seeking out solutions and introducing innovations that will improve the health of every Filipino,” said Dr. Beaver Tamesis, president and managing director of MSD.
For more information on the criteria and mechanics, interested LGUs may visit the CHG website http://healthgovernance.weebly.com or Facebook page http://facebook.com/HealthGovernance
The Champions for Health Governance (CHG) Awards once again will recognize local government units (LGUs) that have efficiently implemented effective health programs. These initiatives are aligned with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #3 of ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all and the DOH Philippine Health Agenda framework of “All for Health towards Health for All”, which aims to achieve universal health care for all Filipinos. The deadline for submitting entries to the CHG Awards is on January 31, 2017.
Organized by Kaya Natin! Movement for Good Governance and Ethical Leadership, in partnership with Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD) and the Jesse M. Robredo Foundation, and with the support of the Department of the Interior and Local Government and the Department of Health, the CHG Awards will recognize five municipal and city local governments. Each winner will receive a cash grant of Php100,000 to fund their best health programs and continue their outstanding initiatives in health.
Now on its third run, CHG past winners include: Tayabas City, Quezon, for promoting enhanced maternal health, as well as ante-natal to post-natal care; Carmona, Cavite, for addressing lifestyle-related diseases, such as diabetes; San Pablo, Zamboanga del Sur, for implementing a bottom-up approach in health programs; Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay, for their system enhancement of health and medical records of every patient; Cervantes, Ilocos Sur, for innovations implemented to address malnutrition, as well as continuous enhancement of their health personnel’s capacities in areas such as maternal healthcare, nutrition, and prevention and treatment of communicable diseases; and Del Carmen, Surigao del Norte, for providing sea ambulances for patients living in island communities.
Interested LGUs may download the application kit at the CHG Awards website www.healthgovernance.weebly.com or contact Shylynne Castillo at (02) 256 1446 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Inquiries may also be coursed through the Awards’ social media accounts: www.facebook.com/HealthGovernance or www.twitter.com/healthgovawards.