#CulturePH - CSMC tackles challenges and opportunities of the DOH with latest webicon

The 13th webicon of Cardinal Santos Medical Center (CSMC) was conducted last Friday, September 9, and was titled "Challenges and Opportunities of the Department of Health - CSMC Healthcare Summit." Facebook and Zoom both offered live streaming of the event.

The Department of Health (DOH) and its incoming secretary need to address a variety of themes and challenges, therefore CSMC gathered top experts in the medical and healthcare fields for this webicon. Prof. Diana A. Payawal, President of the Philippine College of Physicians, was the moderator. The panel of speakers consisted of former DOH Secretaries Dr. Esperanza I. Cabral and Dr. Manuel M. Dayrit, former DOH Undersecretary Dr. Teodoro J. Herbosa, and the current President of the Philippine Medical Association Dr. Minerva P. Calimag.

“We must be able to use our budgets wisely and support those chronically underfunded areas and sustain them over time,” he noted. “Hopefully by doing that, and by financing health as the country develops socioeconomically, we move closer to what we call a health financing transition.”

Herbosa stressed the importance of pandemic preparedness and gave his recommendations on the improvement of health infrastructures. “What happened during the COVID-19 pandemic showed us that many things can be done through digital technology,” he stated. “Digital technology can be used to fast track the implementation of services to remote areas via telemedicine and digital health services. This can help make Universal Healthcare a reality.”

Finally, Calimag talked about health human resources, and what improvements can be made to the distribution of doctors and nurses in the Philippines, especially to the more remote parts of the country. “Most healthcare professionals are centered in cities. And yet, we have many geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas,” she stressed. “Healthcare reform will demand a shift towards a new breed of generalists to meet healthcare needs and absorb the impact of increased access to care under Universal Healthcare.”

All of the presenters participated in a Q&A session that followed the webicon to address questions from audience members.

Raul C. Pagdanganan, president and chief executive officer of CSMC, questioned the speakers throughout the discussion for their ideas on how the national leadership should strengthen PhilHealth's equity base, which is also suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic's consequences.

“The government has guaranteed that every person will be enrolled in PhilHealth. Having said that, there must be a commitment to paying the premium of the PhilHealth members who cannot afford to pay it,” concluded Cabral. “That is one way of increasing the equity base of PhilHealth.”

CSMC is committed to using the webicon format to help shape the conversation around the healthcare landscape in the Philippines. By bringing in experts and leaders in their respective fields, CSMC webicons tackle difficult topics and discuss new developments in medicine and public health. Previous webicons discussed the shift of COVID-19 from pandemic to endemic, self-care strategies for workers during COVID-19, detection and treatment of cancer, and more.

For more information about the programs and services that CSMC offers, please visit https://cardinalsantos.com.ph/. CSMC is also on Facebook, like and follow them at www.facebook.com/CardinalSantos.

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