President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. on Monday asked Congress to help the government establish a Center for Disease Control and Prevention and a vaccine institute.
During his first State of the Nation Address (SONA), Marcos said that a stronger healthcare system is needed as the country could no longer afford to impose another lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said that there should be a balance between the economy and the health and welfare of the people.
Continuous monitoring of the healthcare system and ramping up of the COVID-19 booster coverage are thus important to help bring back the businesses’ full capacity after being affected by the pandemic for the past two years.
“Sa pakikipagtulungan ng Kongreso, itatatag natin ang ating sariling Center for Disease Control and Prevention at ang isang vaccine institute. Magtatayo tayo ng dagdag na mga health center at ospital,” Marcos told a joint session of Congress.
(With the cooperation of Congress, we will establish our own Center for Disease Control and Prevention and a vaccine institute. We will build more health centers and hospitals.)
“But beyond the issues that the pandemic has brought, the need for a stronger healthcare system is self-evident. We must bring medical services to the people and not wait for them to come to our hospitals and healthcare centers,” he added.
He also said that specialty hospitals like the Philippine Heart Center, Philippine Lung Center, National Children’s Hospital, and National Kidney and Transplant Institute should not be concentrated in the National Capital Region, but also in other regions as well.
Marcos also vowed to set up clinics and rural health units where doctors, nurses, midwives, and medical technologists could visit once or twice a week to make it easier for sick people to get treatment without having to travel far.
“One of the cornerstones of a strong healthcare system is the provision of competent and efficient medical professionals. We will exert all efforts to improve the welfare of our doctors, our nurses, and other medical frontliners,” he said.
The Department of Health, along with the local government units, is set to launch on July 26 a campaign that aims to administer booster shots to 50% of the country's eligible population in the next three months.
This campaign also aims to vaccinate 90% of the target senior citizen population group within the same period. —VBL, GMA News