The Champions for Health Governance 2015: Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay, Tacurong, Sultan Kudarat, Cervantes, Ilocos Sur, Del Carmen, Surigao del Norte, Jimenez Misamis Occidental
Those three words best describe the programs and leadership qualities of the five winners of the 2015 Champions for Health Governance Awards. A municipality’s resources must not be a hindrance to providing access and services to its constituents and this could be seen very clearly in the towns and cities of Cervantes, Ilocos Sur; Del Carmen, Siargao, Surigao del Norte; Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay; Jimenez, Misamis Occidental and Tacurong City, Sultan Kudarat whose inspiring programs and leaders helped propel excellent public health services in their communities.
Kaya Natin!, a movement dedicated to good governance and ethical leadership, together with the Jesse M. Robredo Foundation, the Department of Health, the Department of Interior and Local Government and global pharmaceutical company MSD chose five LGUs that implemented the country’s best community and public health programs for the Champions for Health Governance Awards and honored them for their effectiveness, innovation, leadership, transparency, and accountability.
“Through this recognition, we are celebrating these partnerships and encouraging others to embrace our commitments towards better quality health. The Champions for Health Governance Awards is hoping to ensure that the achievements and best practices in local health programs are not only identified and adapted locally but are also shared and spread across nationally,” explained Councilor Amelia Hernandez, Executive Director of Kaya Natin!
In Cervantes, Ilocos Sur the Wireless Access for Health (WAH), Alternative-Integrative Healing and Respect for Indigenous People (IPs) and the Food Always in the Home (FAITH) programs are in full swing. In Del Carmen, Surigao del Norte a Sea Ambulance program has proven critical in saving lives, as well as a 24/7 Birthing Home which has contributed to a significant decrease of maternal deaths in Del Carmen.
Even in war-torn areas such as Ipil in Zamboanga Sibugay, their concerted efforts at good governance and providing adequate public health services has resulted in an increase in facility-based deliveries to 90% and an increase in pre-natal check-ups to 93%. Pretty impressive in an area that has been plagued with armed conflict for so long. Governance here is marked by transparency where the mayor ensures that all transactions are made public – taking it to all channels including social media.
Jimenez in Misamis Oriental has zero maternal mortality, and zero infant mortality, as well as a province-wide no smoking policy, and a nearly 100% access to safe water for households. Its leadership is one that is marked by inclusiveness where accreditation of civil society organizations, especially those from vulnerable sectors (women, elderly, indigenous people).
Tacurong, Sultan Kudarat has provisions for birthing homes and the rate of facility-based deliveries has increased from 85% in 2012 to 90% in 2014. The Philhealth ng Masa program ensures that all indigent families will have access to affordable healthcare services not only to the City Health Center but to the Rural Health Units and other private hospitals in Tacurong, as well. The city also was the recipient of the Red Orchid Award from the Department of Health because of their anti-smoking campaign.
Congresswoman Leni Gerona Robredo who is Chairwoman of the Jesse M. Robredo Foundation says, “There is much and more to be done but it can’t be denied that we have gone far in making sure that mothers are not dying from giving birth, that children are not victimized by malnutrition and other debilitating afflictions, that diseases do not claim the lives and productivity of individuals.”
The programs were chosen based on the progress they have attained for the DOH’s Kalusugang Pangkalahatan program and each of the health-related Millennium Development Goals: reducing child mortality rates; improving maternal health; and reducing incidences of infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis.
“Access to medicines, as well as to quality health services is a basic right. These programs are quite inspiring and innovative in their own ways. We are very glad to be able to honor these local government units for the work that they have done in improving the delivery of health care services in their communities,” said Dr. Beaver Tamesis, President and Managing Director of MSD in the Philippines.
A heart for service, the willingness to collaborate, and ethical leadership are all key factors in making change possible and transforming communities so public health is readily accessible to any man, woman, or child who may need it. This year’s winners show us all that it can be done.
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