In developing economies such as the Philippines, basic social services like health and education have become increasingly important agenda in public consciousness.
For Kaya Natin!, a multi-sectoral movement promoting good governance and ethical leadership, public health is one of the key issues that our leaders need to address in light of economic developments in the region and around the world.
According to Ateneo School of Government Director of Youth Leadership and Social Entrepreneurship and Kaya Natin! co-convenor Harvey Keh, national and local leaders need to prioritize services such as medical insurance and preventive health and to improve facilities in order to deliver quality healthcare.
“Local government units are the frontliners when it comes to addressing health concerns in their community. Our local officials should work on developing innovative and responsive programs that educate their constituents when it comes to preventive health, and constantly upgrade the standard and quality of their health centers,” says Keh. “Their programs should also work toward helping more of their constituents enroll in PhilHealth.”
As part of its commitment to public health, Kaya Natin! has turned its attention to the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on infant and maternal health and infectious diseases, as well as to improving health governance and empowering barangay health workers.
“One major challenge in our public health system is the lack of proper health education given to many of our citizens, especially when it comes to preventive health and maternal health,” says Keh. “A lot of diseases and health concerns can easily be avoided with proper care and education.”
To encourage more local government units (LGUs) to take up the cause of public health, Kaya Natin! recently partnered with global pharmaceutical company MSD to launch the Champions for Health Governance Awards (CHGA), which aims to recognize LGUs that have implemented effective and innovative health programs.
The program also aims to popularize public health programs that address the reduction of child mortality, improvement of maternal health, and the reduction of infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis.
Participating LGUs will be judged based on the effectiveness and innovativeness of their health programs, management of health resources, community engagement, local leadership, and transparency and accountability.
“Good governance has a strong impact in a country’s development, and MSD strongly believes that good and ethical leadership will bring about significant changes, both at the national and local levels,” says Sanjiv Navangul, President and Managing Director of MSD in the Philippines. “Aside from recognizing top-performing LGUs, we also hope to inspire more local government units to advocate for better health programs and leadership with integrity.”
From its launch last February, CHGA has received 48 entries from cities and municipalities across the country, and recently shortlisted 10 LGUs for on-site evaluation. Kaya Natin! and MSD will be honoring the winning LGUs and their respective programs in June.
“We hope that the best practices that we pick up through our Champions for Health Governance Awards can be adopted and shared by the DOH and the DILG, so that other local government units can replicate these,” says Keh.
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. Interested parties may also get in touch with Shylynne Castillo or Wade Eusores at (02) 990-3282.